Calgary

Frida Kahlo photo exhibit opens at Glenbow Museum

Frida Kahlo was famous for her colourful self portraits, but art lovers in Calgary will have a rare chance to see another side of the life and times of the iconic Mexican painter. An exhibit of photos is opening this weekend at the Glenbow Museum.

Hundreds of pictures from beloved Mexican painter's collection on display in Calgary

Frida Kahlo painting a portrait of her father in 1951. (Gisele Freund)

Frida Kahlo was famous for her colourful self portraits, but art lovers in Calgary will have a rare chance to see another side of the life and times of the iconic Mexican painter at an exhibit of photos opening this weekend at the Glenbow Museum.

Photographs from her personal collection — which had been locked in the Kahlo estate archives for five decades after her death in 1954 — will be on display at the Glenbow Museum starting this weekend until May 21. ​
Frida Kahlo in the Blue House in 1930. (Anonymous)

It's the first Canadian stop for the 240-photo exhibition as it tours the world.

"We're hoping with this exhibition, for those people who maybe know of Frida Kahlo but maybe don't know a lot about Frida Kahlo, that this exhibition will give them an opportunity to learn more about her as an individual, and her life and the experiences that really shaped her," Melanie Kjorlien, the museum's vice-president of collections, told the Eyeopener.

Despite being one of the most recognized artists of the 20th century, fans of her work know relatively little about her life-long connection with photography, the Glenbow says on its website.

Frida Kahlo, far left, and Diego Rivera, her husband, with friends in about 1945. (Anonymous)

"Throughout her life, Kahlo meticulously collected photographs of herself and her loved ones as well as scenes of Mexican culture, politics, art, history and nature," the museum says.

"The exhibition Frida Kahlo: Her Photos gives us the opportunity to better understand the woman behind the artist: her origins, her roots, her friendships and romantic relationships, her constant fight with her fragile health, her political tendencies, and the strong role that photography played in her life and work."

Kahlo, who suffered from the effects of polio, paints in bed in about 1940. (Annonymous)

A survivor of childhood polio and severely disabled in a bus accident in her teens, Kahlo created self-portraits that explored the physical pain she suffered throughout her life.

 An active communist sympathizer, she drew further inspiration from her tempestuous marriage to the equally politically minded artist Diego Rivera.

Frida Kahlo's Self Portrait with Monkeys was typical of her distinctive, colourful style. (Art Gallery of Ontario/Canadian Press)


With files from the Calgary Eyeopener

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