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A Year: Day to Day Men: 6th of July, Solar Year 2018

Torso Stretch

July 6, 1907 was the birthdate of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

Considered one of the Mexico’s greatest artist, Frida Kahlo was born in Coyocoan, Mexico City, Mexico. She grew up in the family’s home which was later known as the Blue House or Casa Azul. Frida Kahlo had poor health in her childhood. She contracted polio at age of six and had to be bedridden for nine months.

Frida Kahlo attended the renowned National Preparatory School in Mexico City. It was here that she first met Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, who was working on a mural called “The Creation”. Kahlo reconnected with Rivera in 1928 and the two started a romantic relationship, getting married in 1929. During the following years they moved to San Francisco, New York City and Detroit, based on Diego Rivera’s work.

In 1938, Frida Kahlo became a friend of Andre Breton, who was one of the primary figures of the Surrealism movement. That same year she had an exhibition in New York City and sold some of her paintings and received two commissions for future works. One commission was from Clare Boothe Luce; the result was the 1939 painting “The Suicide of Dorothy Hale” telling the story of Luce’s friend Dorothy’s leap to her death.

In the year of 1944, Frida Kahlo painted one of her most famous portrait, “The Broken Column”. In this painting she depicted herself naked and split down the middle, her spine shattered like a  column. She wears a surgical brace in the painting and there are nails all through her body, which is the indication of the consistent pain she went through. During that time, she had several surgeries forcing her to wear special corsets to protect her spine. She sought medical treatment for her chronic pain but treatments were unsuccessful.

In the year of 1953, Kahlo had a solo exhibition in Mexico. Although she had limited mobility at that time, she showed up on the exhibition’s opening ceremony. She arrived by ambulance,  welcomed the attendees, and celebrated the ceremony in a bed the gallery had set up for her. Frida Kahlo’s last public appearance was at a demonstration on July 2, 1953, against the overthrow of President Arbenz of Guatemala. One week later, after her 47th birthday, Frida Kahlo passed away at her beloved Blue House.

Frida Kahlo’s fame grew after her death. Her Blue House was opened as a museum in the year of 1958. In 1970s the interest in her work and life was renewed due to the feminist movement, since she was viewed as an icon of female creativity. In 1983, Hayden Herrera published his book on her, “A Biography of Frida Kahlo”, which drew more attention from the public to her works. In 2002, the movie “Frida” was released and was nominated for six Academy Awards, winning Best makeup and Best Original Score.

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