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ESSAY BY FRIDA KAHLO BIOGRAPHER HAYDEN HERRERA

Posted by on Apr 27, 2015 in News | 0 comments

ESSAY BY FRIDA KAHLO BIOGRAPHER HAYDEN HERRERA

“My Bartoli…I don’t know how to write love letters.  But I wanted to tell you that my whole being opened for you. Since I fell in love with you everything is transformed and is full of beauty…. love is like an aroma, like a current, like rain.  You know, my sky, you rain on me and I, like the earth, receive you. Mara”  Frida Kahlo, October 1946

This group of twenty-five letters that the Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo wrote to a Spanish refugee named Jose Bartoli between August 1946, when she had just turned thirty-nine, and November 1949, show that she knew how to write love letters that flow with poetry and passion. Kahlo’s letters are steamy with unbridled sensuality and they are, like Kahlo’s paintings, extraordinarily direct and personal. They cry outwith a heart-breaking loneliness and with the misery of physical pain, for they were written while Kahlo was recuperating at home in Mexico City from a spinal fusion performed in June, 1946 at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery. This was just one of several surgeries that never really cured her physical problems that stemmed from a 1925 bus accident that left the eighteen-year-old Kahlo a partial cripple.

The agony of her spinal surgeries is expressed in Kahlo’s self-portraits starting with The Broken Column, 1944, in which a weeping Frida is pierced by nails and her body is opened up to reveal a crumbling Ionic column. This and other self-portraits speak not only of her wounded body but also of her acute solitude, her feeling of rage and sorrow at not being able to move easily and having to live so often confined within her home. Likewise her letters to Bartoli talk about feeling shut in, isolated, and immobile. But in both her letters and her self-portraits Kahlo defiant — she challenges us with her fierce gaze and with her determination to overcome misery.

Tree of Hope, a double self-portrait painted in September and October, 1946, was, Kahlo said in an October 11 letter to her chief patron, Eduardo Morillo Safa who bought it, “nothing but the result of the damned operation.” Eight days later she wrote to Bartoli, who had recently left Mexico, about working on Tree of Hope: “I remembered your last words and I began to paint. I worked all morning and when I finished eating I kept on painting until there was no more light. But afterward I felt so tired and everything hurt.” 

In Tree of Hope one Frida lies on a hospital trolley. The surgical incisions on her back are still open and bleeding. The other Frida, dressed in her habitual Tehuana costume, is strong. In one hand she holds the orthopedic corset that in her letters to Bartoli she cursed because wearing it was torture.  In her other hand she holds a flag on which she inscribed her motto, the first line of a song that she and Bartoli loved: “Tree of Hope Keep Firm.” Many of Kahlo’s letters to Bartoli mention the tree of hope, and almost every letter reveals her formidable will to keep firm. A photograph of herself that shesent toBartoli and thatshe inscribed with the words “tree of hope keep firm,” shows her sitting in the patio of her house in Coyoacan, a southern district of Mexico City. She drew an ink line around the names Mara and Bartoli and she continued this line upward, crossing her chest at the level of her heart and then dividing it so that one line goes down to her right hand and the other goes up to her head.

Another 1946 self-portrait that refers to her recent surgery is The Little Deer. Here Frida’s body is transformed into a young stag pierced by arrows. This painting was a gift to her friend Jose Domingo Lavin who had recommended her surgeon, Dr. Philip Wilson and who, her letters reveal, had loaned Kahlo the money to make the trip to New York.

Frida Kahlo met Bartoli, a Catalan artist three years younger than she, when she was lying in bed in the Hospital for Special Surgery. Her younger sister, Cristina, who had come with Kahlo to New York, introduced them. Like Kahlo, Bartoli had experienced great pain. He had fought on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), after which he was imprisoned in a concentration camp where he secretly drew the horrors that he observed. He escaped and went to Mexico by way of Africa, finally making his home and continuing his political work in New York. During visits to the hospital, he and Kahlo fell in love. When she was released and returned to Mexico, they began an impassioned correspondence.

Kahlo signed her letters “Mara,” which is probably short for “Maravillosa,” which is what Bartoli called her. She told Bartoli to address her in his letters as Sonja so that if her husband, the muralist Diego Rivera found them he would think they were from a woman. A famous philanderer, who in the mid-1930s went so far as to have an affair with Kahlo’s sister, Cristina, Rivera tolerated Kahlo’s love for women, but he was wildly jealous of her liaisons with men. Bartoli sent his letters to the post office where Cristina collected them and took them to her sister. Many of Kahlo’s letters to Bartoli are addressed to Bertram and Ella Wolfe whose Brooklyn home served as a mail drop. Ella was Kahlo’s great friend and confidant; Bertram was Rivera’s biographer.

Although Kahlo was deeply attached to Rivera, these letters suggest that she would have left him in order to live with Bartoli. She told Bartoli that he gave her a kind of love that she had never experienced before. Her love for Bartoli was passionate, carnal, tender, and maternal. She wanted him to know everything about her life, and the letters tell him who she has seen, what she has done, how her health is either improving or worsening, and what doctors have ordered. In many of the letters she talks about her painting, how difficult it is. But she is determined to follow Bartoli’s advice to work hard, to draw, and to be strong. In several letters she tells Bartoli that she is not drawing; once her doctors forbid her to draw or paint. Another time she explained that she had not been able to draw because she was struggling to paint some “son-of-a-bitch rocks that looked like cardboard, but now I have been able to make them look O.K.” In a December 12, 1946 letter she says, “I am working slowly, but with pleasure. I finished a drawing that I owed to Marte R. Gomez, it is not too ugly.” Indeed this pencil self portrait dedicated to her friend, the agricultural engineer, Marte R. Gomez, is perhaps Kahlo’s most beautiful and most finished drawing. In it her joined eyebrows become a dove. (In her letters she calls herself Bartoli’s dove.)

Several of the 1946 letters let Bartoli know that she has missed her period. If the condition of her spine would allow it, she was half-hoping to have Bartoli’s baby. “If I were not in the condition I am in now and if it were a reality, nothing in my life would give me more joy. Can you imagine a little Bartoli or a Mara?”

Reading Kahlo’s letters can make you feel claustrophobic—almost as shut in as she was. Much of her writing is taken up with how lonely she feels without him and how she is suffering. She is vehement about her need for Bartoli. “Don’t leave me, don’t forget me,” she keeps saying. She wants to be him and to have him be her. Quite often she slips into a kind of emotional blackmail—she will get better for him; only he can make her happy; he is the reason she stays alive. He is her tree of hope, the support without which she cannot paint. This neediness might at one point have driven him away. One of two letters that she wrote to Bartoli in 1947 express her anguish when she learned from a friend that he had been in Mexico for three weeks and he had not come to see her. Their relationship had resumed by 1949 and in her letters from that year she is just as desperate for him to be close.

Bartoli never lost his love for Frida. If you asked him about her he would speak with great reverence, but also with restraint. All his life he treasured the little objects she gave him as tokens of her love and he kept all her letters. Kahlo sometimes worries that Bartoli would find her letters to be childish, corny, and stupid. But, she tells him, love letters are never intelligent or stupid.  Her letters are her “truth.” She asks him to receive them “as if a little girl passing in the street gave you a flower without knowing why.”

— Hayden Herrera

FRIDA KAHLO LOVE LETTERS SELL FOR $137,000 AT DOYLE NEW YORK

Posted by on Apr 27, 2015 in Collections, Exhibitions, Frida Kahlo, History, News | 0 comments

FRIDA KAHLO LOVE LETTERS SELL FOR $137,000 AT DOYLE NEW YORK

A group of love letters written by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo sold for $137,000 at Doyle New York on April 15, 2015. The 25 letters were written by Frida Kahlo to Jose Bartoli, a Catalán émigré artist whom she met in New York. Many of the letters include keepsakes inserted by Kahlo, among them drawings, photographs, pressed flowers and other mementos. The successful bidder was a private collector in New York, who is also an artist and a great admirer of Frida Kahlo.

These unpublished letters, dating from 1946 through 1949 and comprising more than 100 pages in Spanish, were secreted away and cherished by Bartoli until his death in 1995. They remained in the possession of Bartoli’s family, who made the decision to offer the letters at auction, 20 years after his death.

Frida Kahlo met José Bartoli in New York while she was recuperating from spinal surgery stemming from a bus accident in her youth. Their love affair continued after Kahlo returned to Mexico to her beloved home, La Casa Azul, and her husband, artist Diego Rivera. The clandestine correspondence lasted for three years, aided by friends and Kahlo’s sister, Cristina, who had introduced the pair.

The letters provide new and unique insights into the life and career one of the 20th century’s most important artists. Poetically composed with a touch of Kahlo’s characteristic surrealism, the letters offer illuminating information about some of her best-known paintings, including her 1946 Tree of Hope. They also poignantly refer to an unknown possible pregnancy, her post-surgery relationship with her husband, personal and professional struggles, and her unwavering love for Bartoli.

In a letter from October 1946, Kahlo states, “My Bartoli…I don’t know how to write love letters. But I wanted to tell you that my whole being opened for you. Since I fell in love with you everything is transformed and is full of beauty…love is like an aroma, like a current, like rain. You know, my sky, you rain on me and I, like the earth, receive you.”

Acclaimed Frida Kahlo biographer Hayden Herrera has recently written an essay profiling these letters. She describes them as “…steamy with unbridled sensuality and they are, like Kahlo’s paintings, extraordinarily direct and personal. They cry out with a heart-breaking loneliness and with the misery of physical pain…”

The letters offer very personal revelations about Kahlo’s relationship with Rivera. Herrera states, “Although Kahlo was deeply attached to Rivera, these letters suggest that she would have left him in order to live with Bartoli. She told Bartoli that he gave her a kind of love that she had never experienced before. Her love for Bartoli was passionate, carnal, tender and maternal.”

About José Bartoli, whom Herrera interviewed for her biography on Kahlo, she states, “Bartoli never lost his love for Frida. If you asked him about her, he would speak with great reverence, but also with restraint. All his life he treasured the little objects she gave him as tokens of her love and he kept all her letters.”

Herrera continues, “Kahlo sometimes worries that Bartoli would find her letters to be childish, corny, and stupid. But, she tells him, love letters are never intelligent or stupid. Her letters are her ‘truth.’ She asks him to receive them ‘as if a little girl passing in the street gave you a flower without knowing why.’”

The price includes the buyer’s premium.

Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Masterpieces of Modern Mexico

Posted by on Apr 15, 2013 in Exhibitions, Frida Kahlo, News, Upcoming Exhibitions | 0 comments

Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Masterpieces of Modern Mexico

Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Masterpieces of Modern Mexico

June 1, 2013 – August 18, 2013

Featured Exhibition Ticket Prices: Adults: $8 Seniors over 55: $7 Students with ID: $5 Members and Children 12 and under: FREE

More than 100 paintings, sculptures, photographs and drawings by artists such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera showcase the rich artistic traditions of the Mexico of yesterday and celebrate the vitality of Mexican art today. Never before seen in this region, art from the Gelman collection includes a variety of subject matter and styles that range from the figurative to the surreal, the abstract and the conceptual. Share in the passion that inspired this exceptional private collection of Mexican art.

This exhibition has been organized by The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art with the Vergel Foundation. Support has been received from the Donald J. Hall Initiative, The Keith and Margie Weber Foundation, Belger Cartage Service, Inc., the Campbell–Calvin Fund and Elizabeth C. Bonner Charitable Trust for exhibitions, and our generous donors to the Annual Fund.

 

Viva la Vida: The Art of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

Posted by on Feb 1, 2013 in Upcoming Exhibitions | 0 comments

Viva la Vida: The Art of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

Saturday, February 23, 2013 2:00 p.m. – Rich Theatre

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera each achieved international recognition in the history of modern art. Rarely, however, have their paintings been considered in relation to each another, largely due to the view that they worked in very different styles and with separate intentions. In celebration of the opening of Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics, and Painting, Guest Curator Elliott H. King will present on the artistic relationship these artists shared during their twenty-five years together as a married couple.

Although their approaches to painting differed, both were influenced early on by traditional European painting; both caught the attention of the international avant-garde; and both were passionately committed to Mexico’s indigenous people, traditions, and post-revolutionary values. Further, and perhaps most importantly, each steadfastly supported the other’s art, even amidst highly publicized personal and professional tumult. Through the pairing of works included in the Frida & Diego exhibition, King will expand upon two artists who individually may be familiar but about whom as a couple much remains to be said.

This program is free and seating is limited. Tickets are available through the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office at 404-733-5000. Please note: tickets are limited to two per person. Tickets to the Museum are sold separately or free to members.

Major funding to the High Museum of Art is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the guidance of the Fulton County Arts Council.

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Curator Elliott H. King

Works by Diego Rivera and Fernando Botero lead Christie’s Latin American Sale

Posted by on Nov 5, 2012 in News | 0 comments

Works by Diego Rivera and Fernando Botero lead Christie’s Latin American Sale
NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s Latin American Sale will take place on November 20 at 7:00 p.m. and November 21, at 10:00 a.m.
This two-session sale of 300 lots total is led by significant works from some of the region’s best-known artists spanning colonial art to the present. The Evening Sale features 80 of the sale’s most important works, with an exceptional line-up of paintings and sculpture from celebrated Brazilian and Mexican artists, amongst many others. The following Day Sale presents over 200 additional works of art from the Spanish colonial era to the present. The combined sales are expected to realize in excess of $20 million.
Madre con hijos by Diego Rivera, painted in 1926, (estimate: $500,000-800,000) reflects the artist’s interest in depicting Mexico’s indigenous people. Rivera spent the years of the Mexican Revolution abroad, returning only in 1921 to participate in a national program of mural painting. He found inspiration in the region’s indigenous culture as this painting’s subject matter reflects—a mother with her young children—poignant and enduring symbols of national identity and strong familial ties.
One of the most provocative and beautiful portraits ever painted by Diego Rivera is Portrait of Linda Christian, painted in 1947, (estimate: $250,000-350,000), and virtually unknown to the general public and scholars alike until now. Featured on the cover of her 1962 autobiography, Linda My Own Story, the painting demonstrates Rivera’s skills as a portraitist, expressing his brilliant use of light and color as well as his astute use of allegorical references. Rivera met actress Linda Christian in the 1940s and painted her at least twice in two portraits that survive to this day. In the present painting, the actress appears radiant and sensuous, while the playful hummingbirds explore the inner hollows of the orchids and tulips suggesting an erotically charged metaphor.
Read More: artdaily.org

Magna Ofrenda de Día de Muertos 2012

Posted by on Nov 3, 2012 in News | 0 comments

Magna Ofrenda de Día de Muertos 2012

Una vez más el Museo Diego Rivera-Anahuacalli se revistió de colores y simbolismo para recibir a los muertos, pues este 31 de octubre inauguró su acostumbrada Magna Ofrenda del Día de Muertos que realiza cada año. Con una estética prehispánica, se erige en medio del ambiente natural del museo para homenajear al difunto artista mexicano Diego Rivera.

via Fahrenheit Magazine

Lives of Passion and Art: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

Posted by on Oct 30, 2012 in News | 0 comments

Lives of Passion and Art: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 @ 1:00 PM

Venue: 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Second Floor • Bethesda – 20814

Event Details:

Event URL: http://www.liveandlearnbethesda.org

Price Range: $10 (high) – $10 (low)

Phone: 301-740-6150

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera had one of the great love affairs in the art world. Only the power of their works of art matched the drama of their union. Kahlo’s unforgettable self-portraits and Rivera’s monumental murals, as well as their passionate marriage, will be highlighted to give us both an appreciation and understanding of their creativity.

Primer Concurso de Calaveras en Piñata

Posted by on Oct 21, 2012 in News | 0 comments

Primer Concurso de Calaveras en Piñata

El Museo Diego Rivera-Anahuacalli invita al público a participar en el Primer Concurso de Calaveras en Piñata, conforme a las siguientes bases de participación:

    1. Podrá participar cualquier persona en las categorías:
      1. Niños: de 6 a 12 años
      2. Jóvenes: de 13 a 17 años
      3. Adultos: de 18 años en adelante
  1. Sólo se aceptará una piñata por participante, ya sea de manera individual o colectiva.
  2. No se aceptarán piñatas que se hayan presentado en otros concursos.
  3. La piñata deberá tener la forma de calavera (cráneo), con el fin de unir todas las participantes para formar un tzompantli.
  4. Para la realización de la piñata se pueden utilizar materiales como ollas de barro, cartón, papel periódico, de china y otros.
  5. Los participantes deberán inscribir su piñata al correo electrónico difusion@museoanahuacalli.org.mx o en las oficinas del Museo Diego Rivera-Anahuacalli.
  6. Las piñatas se deberán entregar en el Museo Diego Rivera-Anahuacalli. La fecha límite para presentarlas es el viernes 26 de octubre a las 17:00 horas. No habrá prórroga.
  7. Se premiará la mejor piñata de cada categoría, por un jurado designado por el Museo Diego Rivera-Anahuacalli, encabezado por Hilda Trujillo, directora del recinto, así como por la Coordinadora Técnica, la Coordinadora de Exposiciones y la Coordinadora de Actividades Culturales.
  8. Se calificará la originalidad, la manufactura y su relación con la celebración mexicana del Día de Muertos.
  9. La premiación de las tres mejores piñatas (una por categoría) se realizará el sábado 3 de noviembre a las 13:00 hrs. en el Museo Diego Rivera-Anahuacalli.
  10. Las piñatas premiadas en cada categoría recibirán:

Niños:

      1. Un paquete de libros infantiles, de Editorial Tecolote.
      2. Una mes de clases gratis en el taller de su preferencia, impartido en el Museo Diego Rivera-Anahuacalli (excepto Kumón).

Jóvenes:

        1. Un libro Frida Kahlo, sus fotos.
        2. Un mes de clases gratis en el taller de su preferencia, impartido en el Museo Diego Rivera-Anahuacalli (excepto Kumón)

Adultos:

        1. Un libro Diego Rivera. Epopeya mural.
        2. Un pase doble para la noche de jazz en el Museo Diego Rivera-Anahuacalli y para el espectáculo teatral en el Museo Frida Kahlo, durante el mes de noviembre.

A todos los participantes se les otorgará un reconocimiento. Además, las piñatas serán exhibidas en el Museo Diego Rivera-Anahuacalli, como parte de las actividades por el Día de Muertos, a partir del 31 de octubre de 2012 y hasta el 13 de enero de 2013.

Museo Anahuacalli

Subastarán obras de Diego Rivera, Picasso y Tamayo en la Ciudad de México

Posted by on Oct 15, 2012 in News | 0 comments

Subastarán obras de Diego Rivera, Picasso y Tamayo en la Ciudad de México

La casa de subastas Morton pondrá a la venta más de 300 pinturas de artistas reconocidos; prevé recaudar más de 700 mil pesos.

México  • Un total de 313 obras de arte de 201 creadores de renombre nacional e internacional, entre los que sobresalen Diego Rivera, Pablo Picasso, Rufino Tamayo, Leonora Carrington, Juan Soriano y Fernando García Ponce serán subastadas el jueves próximo en esta ciudad.

En la Subasta de Pintura y Obra Gráfica de Morton, Casa de Subastas, también serán puestas a la venta al mejor postor obras de Phil Kelly, Ricardo Martínez, Carlos Orozco Romero, Francisco Zúñiga, Francisco Toledo, Raúl Anguiano y David Alfaro Siqueiros.

De acuerdo con información de la empresa, destaca dentro del lote de obras la pieza de García Ponce, “Sin título” y sin firma, pero con certificado de autenticidad de la Galería Juan Martín de febrero de 2012, que se espera vender entre 700 mil y 800 mil pesos.

Para la puja también sobresale otro cuadro del artista, titulado “Elementos contra… (Abstracto en rojo)”, con estimados de 120 mil a 200 mil pesos. Un cuadro de Kelly se presume que será colocado por un precio de entre 150 mil y 200 mil pesos.

De Juan Soriano se pondrá a subasta el óleo sobre papel sobre masonite “Abstracto” y se espera alcanzar de 120 mil a 150 mil pesos; de Ricardo Martínez “Mujer con palma”, con estimados de 100 mil a 150 mil pesos.

De Diego Rivera por separado se subastarán diferentes piezas de lápiz de grafito sobre papel, como “Mujeres”, “Día de muertos” o “Boceto de carnaval”, con precios que van de entre 10 mil y 25 mil pesos.

De Rafael Coronel “Mujer y bebé” y “Mujer agachada”, firmadas, de lápiz de grafito sobre papel, con estimados de 18 mil a 25 mil; “Mujer”, serigrafía firmada por entre 20 mil y 30 mil pesos, y otra del mismo título, pero de tinta sobre papel, por la que se espera obtener de 60 mil a 80 mil pesos.

Un par de piezas más a mencionar son las tituladas “Ceremonia del círculo” y “Abstracto”, de Manuel Felguérez, con precios estimados de 12 mil a 20 mil pesos cada una.

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