Beautiful, passionate Mexican artist Frida Kahlo left a legacy of love and pain depicted in her many self-portraits and other paintings from the 1920s to the 1950s. Her vibrant imagery showcases Mexican and indigenous culture, and her portrayal of the female condition has won her admiration from feminists.
She famously was married to Mexican muralist Diego Rivera and travelled the world with him as he worked on commissions, as well as exhibiting around the world herself. She was also politically active, joining the Communist Party, befriending Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky and Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, and participating in marches for peace.
While you can see her art hanging in museums around the world, from the Louvre to New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the best place to immerse yourself in her world is in the city of her birth – Mexico City. Here are four places to visit for a true Frida Kahlo experience.
La Casa Azul – Museo Frida Kahlo
Otherwise known as The Blue House, the Frida Kahlo Museum is the home where Kahlo grew up. It is also the home she shared with Rivera for a time, as well as where she died. It was turned into a museum in 1958, four years after her death. You can see a collection of her artworks – including Viva la Vida and Frida and Caesarian – as well as her books, paintings, jewellery and dolls. There is also a beautiful garden. But be aware the museum can get very busy.
Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo
This museum consists of two home/studios created by Mexican architect and artist Juan O’Gorman in the early 1930s for Rivera and Kahlo, joined by a small bridge. You can get a feel for how the two lived and worked, although Kahlo’s studio these days is used for temporary exhibits.
Museo Dolores Olmedo
This museum, housed in a 16th-century hacienda, was the home of Dolores Olmedo, who was a close friend and patron of Rivera. It houses the largest collection of works by Rivera and Kahlo, among other artists, as well as some resident xoloitzcuintles –Mexican hairless dogs. Here you can see internationally recognised artworks, such as The Broken Column, and Self-portrait with changuito.
Museo de Arte Moderno
The Museum of Modern Art hosts a permanent collection of works by Kahlo and other Mexican artists, including Rivera, Gelsen Gas and Juan Soriano. The current exhibition, Scenarios of Mexican Identity, tells the story of 20th-century Mexican art from the post-revolutionary period until the 1980s, and includes works by Kahlo. Keep an eye out for her famous painting The Two Fridas.
* Featured image: The Blue House.