Kahlo & Rivera

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Self-portrait with a hat, 1907. Diego Rivera. Dolores Olmedo Museum. Rivera was in Europe then, in Madrid.

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Frida Kahlo with a motorbike, Mexico city, c.2019. Kahlo’s image is everywhere. This is a rather Op-Art version I suspect she would have liked.

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Diego Rivera’s workshop and house in San Angel, Mexico city. Rivera lived there from 1934 till the day he died in 1957. The house was designed by Juan O’Gorman, a top Mexican architect of the time. There are 3 major places to see Diego Rivera’s and Frida Kahlo’s work: the Dolores Olmedo Museum (See above), Diego’s house in San Angel and Frida’s house in Coyoacán. The latter is a wonderful house and museum, we haven’t visited in a long while: it is packed. Was. Before.

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Two unidentified travellers in Diego’s workshop. San Angel. Mexico city.

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Mother and child by Guillermo Toussaint. c.1930-1940. Rivera’s house. The 30’s and 40’s were a period of intense revival of the Mexicans’ pre-Columbian roots. Rivera was a big collector of prehistoric artefacts; many artists, like Toussaint, retook pre-Columbian influences.

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Frida Kahlo, “The girl Virginia”, 1929. Dolores Olmedo museum. I like the work on the lace on Virginia’s sleeves.

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Pre-Columbian pottery behind Diego’s desk. “Ancient” desks always surprise me now with their simplicity. No computers, no screens. Nothing electric. No cables. No multiple plugs. I have more than a dozen plugs in my library. Never enough. Another source of wonder: the objects of my youth are now in museums. My mother had a typewriter very much like this one.

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Kahlo’s photograph. Diego Rivera’s house. On previous visits, it seems to me there were more of Frida’s belongings in Rivera’s house. I hear all were moved to the Blue House in Coyoacán.

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Three women, by Juan Leonardo Cordero. c. 1935-40. Diego’s house. It is always interesting to discover the art major artists kept in their house.

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Diego and Frida. Dolores Olmedo museum. Why is the Diego mannequin the only one to have a painter’s palette? Didn’t Kahlo paint? Or is that a curator’s gender bias?

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Rivera’s workshop. Love the phonograph. Playing 78 rpm records. Beethoven’s 9th needed a suitcase to carry all the records.

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Dolores del Río (1905-1983), centre, with her portraits, many if not all by Diego Rivera. The portrait top left is now on an easel, in Diego’s workshop. I featured that portrait in a previous post. Dolores del Río was one of the major actresses of the Mexican golden age of Cinema.

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The mask (of madness), Frida Kahlo, 1945. She wore it sometimes. Hence the holes in the painting.

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El picador, the chopper, Diego Rivera, 1909. Painted during Rivera’s stay in Europe. The “picador” is an essential part of the Spanish “corrida”, riding a horse, he repeatedly attacks the bull with a spear to tire him away before the “matador” comes in. “Corridas” are ghastly affairs really.

To be continued…

44 thoughts on “Kahlo & Rivera

  1. Thanks for the tour, Brian. I love the photo of Dolores sitting there with all her portraits. Oh, I didn’t know what a picador was. That’s horrible. As a child, I loved Tommy Steele’s “Little White Bull” song. I didn’t of course know how gory things got. 😯

  2. Pingback: Kahlo & Rivera — Equinoxio | Rethinking Life

  3. Fascinating post! I’ve been wanting to learn more about Khalo’s life and work since seeing the movie “Frida.” I think you’re right about the gender bias with Frida and Diego manniquins. He is portrayed as a working artist, while she is portrayed as a costume.

  4. Wow, interesting! That typewriter looks exactly like the one my father had.I have a stack of Beethoven’s Nineth Symphony 78 records. Also got it from my father…all in a huge leather bound album. I feel like you…how is it possible that stuff from our youth are antiques today? Quite scary!

    • Dag Dina. My most sincere apologies for not visiting lately. I seem to have less time in lockdown than before.
      Hand on to your Dad’s records. They now sell digital turntables that allow you to play them.
      I saw a few 78’s when I was a child, but I think my parents gave them away in the late 50’s.
      Well, we are becoming “vintage”.
      How have you been? Can you still go in the bush despite restrictions?
      Stay safe.

      • We are still marooned to our home, because we cannot travel inter provincial. The bush is in another province. The economy is in a bad way, but things are picking up slowly. We are just disgusted by all the corruption that goes on…covid projects that never got off the ground , but millions been paid to these projects and the money just gone. It is unreal!!
        Free food parcels that never got to those who needed it, and being sold by others while it says on the parcel “not for sale”. I can write a book about it, Brian, but I won’t spoil your day any further.
        Nice to hear from you.

      • Nice to hear form you too Dina. Don’t worry about spoiling my day. What you tell is the every day routine in Mexico too.
        Reason why I am seriously working on alternative solutions. To at least spend as much time outside the country as can be.
        Tot ziens Sis’ 🙏🏻

      • That would be so fascinating! The Frida Kahlo exhibition in Berlin broke lots of records. It was really hard to even get close to the pictures – although these days that might not be the problem?!? I doubt I’ll ever make it to South America at this rate …

      • Here it was all right, not too many people. Exception is Frida’s house in Coyocán, which is always packed with foreign tourists. We went a long time ago, but in days of mass tourism… it is unfeasable…
        Long-distance travel will no doubt be affected. I hope not too much. I do need to go back to Europe once a year if I don’t want to become crazy… 😉

  5. A lovely post Brian, and great selection of pictures. I never got to visit Diego Rivera’s place in Mexico City – love the staircase and the workshop – but did visit the Blue House. All those years ago it wasn’t so busy as I guess it is these (pre-COVID!) days. Hope all’s well?

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