33 Stunning Frida Kahlo Photos And Facts

To know Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is to understand the physical suffering she endured. First, she contracted polio at a young age, which withered one of her legs. And that wasn’t even the worst of it.

At age 18, Kahlo endured a bus accident that propelled a metal handrail through her hip, tearing through her pelvis, and exiting through her vagina. The collision also crushed her foot, fractured her leg in 11 places, and severely damaged her spinal cord, among other injuries.

But it was during the initial year spent recovering from this accident that she first put brush to canvas, and let people witness her excruciating pain through art.

And it is both this tumultuous life and the brilliant art it inspired that are illuminated in the fascinating Frida Kahlo photos, paintings, and facts below:

Prev Next 1 of 34
Frida Kahlo Photos Childhood

Kahlo realized that after she was diagnosed with Polio, her parents gave her more attention than they had previously. “My papa and mama began to spoil me a lot and love me more,” she told psychology student Olga Campos, who interviewed Frida for a book she intended to publish.

Kahlo had a loving relationship with her father, but showed no warm feelings toward her mother.

Image Source: Rubi Joselin Ibarra and Arturo Alfaro Galán

Frida Kahlo Photos Seated

Kahlo was enrolled in the National Preparatory School at age 13, where she was one of only 35 girls in a student body of 2,000.

Left, Kahlo in 1926, by Guillermo Kahlo.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Frida Kahlo Life Holding Statue

Kahlo's parents sent her to the school after they found some letters exchanged between Kahlo and her former teacher, Sara Zenil, who had instigated an inappropriate relationship with the young girl.

Image Source: Casamérica

Frida Kahlo Life Diego Portrait Pose

It was at the National Preparatory School where Kahlo met her future husband, Diego Rivera.

Kahlo was 15, Rivera, 36. He was a famous artist in his own right, and Kahlo fell for him instantly. She reportedly told her school friends that someday she would have his babies. Pictured: Kahlo and Rivera in 1930.

Image Source: La Veu del País Valencià

Frida Kahlo Life Androgynous Suit

In this family portrait, an 18 or 19 year old Kahlo is dressed in a suit with slicked back hair, circa 1926. This was Kahlo’s way of expressing her somewhat androgynous identity while also covering her polio-withered leg.

Image Source: Libby Rosof, Vicente Wolf Photography

Frida Kahlo Life Apron

Kahlo’s boyfriend at the time of the bus accident, Alejandro Gómez Arias, was with her when the accident occurred.

In true Kahlo style, even this tragedy seemed surreal. Of the accident, Arias has said: “Someone in the bus, probably a housepainter, had been carrying a packet of powdered gold. This package broke, and the gold fell all over the bleeding body of Frida.”

Image Source: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid © Archive Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Banco de Mexico

Frida Kahlo Life Easel Painting

Starting to paint during her recovery, most of Kahlo’s works were self-portraits. "I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best," Kahlo said.

Image Source: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Frida Kahlo Life Self Portraits

Kahlo's obsession with self-portraits may have begun with her father, Guillermo's tendency to photograph her often. Today, one of her most famous paintings is a double self-portrait named The Two Fridas.

Image Source: Rubi Joselin Ibarra

Frida Kahlo Life Diego Malu

Kahlo and Diego Rivera reconnected in 1928. She showed him her paintings and he was impressed – and assured her that she was very talented.

Pictured: Kahlo with Diego Rivera and Malu Block, daughter of the politician Luis Cabrera.

Image Source: Carl Van Vechten

Frida Kahlo Life Odd Couple

They married the next year, beginning what would be a highly tumultuous relationship. - Wikimedia Commons

Frida Kahlo Life Shawl Jewelry

Very involved in Mexican politics and the Communist party, Kahlo admired these same interests in her husband, who was part of a post-revolutionary movement known as Mexicanidad – the rejection of Western influence.

Image Source: Guillermo Kahlo.

Frida Kahlo Life Chair Pose

Kahlo was proud of her prominent eyebrows and trademark lip hair, even grooming them with special combs and including them in her self-portraits.

- Flickr

Frida Kahlo Life Henry Ford Hospital

Over the years, Kahlo became more seasoned in painting, using her three miscarriages or abortions as fodder for some of her most emotional work, as in the 1932 painting "Henry Ford Hospital," above.

Image Source: Enrique Arias.

Frida Kahlo Life Wild Hair

The bus accident led to Kahlo having difficulty conceiving or bearing a child, but some say that even if she would have been physically able to bear children, she was not psychologically stable enough to do so.

Pictured: Kahlo in New York, 1938.

- Flickr

Frida Kahlo Life Red Shawl Diego

In her diaries, she admits to being obsessed with Rivera. “Diego in my urine— / Diego in my mouth / —in my heart, in my madness, in my sleep . . .” she wrote.

She even filled Rivera’s bath with toys and bathed him like the child she never had.

Image Source: left, Beate Knappe and Koiart66

Frida Kahlo Life Smoking Portrait

Kahlo and Rivera both had many extramarital affairs, once even with the same woman. Rivera often bragged of Kahlo’s relationships with women, but was jealous of the ones with men.

It was Rivera’s affair with Kahlo’s sister that sent Kahlo into a depression, during which she cut off most of her hair.

Pictured: with self-portrait of Diego Rivera, circa 1945.

- Flickr

Frida Kahlo Life Vogue

After Rivera’s affair with Kahlo’s sister, they divorced, only to get remarried again about a year later.

They often lived separately after that, but most of the time still adjacent to each other.

Pictured: Kahlo on a 1937 "Señoras of Mexico" photo shoot for Vogue magazine.

- Wikimedia Commons

Frida Kahlo Life Laughing Red Shawl

Kahlo is rumored to have had affairs with some very high-profile people — among them artist Georgia O’Keeffe, entertainer Josephine Baker, singer Chavela Vargas, and photographer Nickolas Muray (credited with this photo) just to name a few.

Pictured: left, Kahlo with Chavela Vargas.

Image Source: Nickolas Muray and Rael Garcia Arnes.

Frida Kahlo Life Gazing Ball

In 1937, Kahlo and Rivera helped exiled Soviet communist Leon Trotsky and his wife by providing them asylum in Mexico. Kahlo and Trotsky had a brief affair, which upset Rivera immensely.

Pictured: in Coyoacan, circa 1938.

Image Source: Libby Rosof, Vicente Wolf Photography Collection

Frida Kahlo Life Flowers

Kahlo’s health continued to deteriorate due to complications from her accident and childhood polio. She had already had several toes amputated due to gangrene, and suffered from ongoing fungus infections in her right hand.

Pictured: Kahlo on a boat ride in the canal gardens of Xochimilco.

Image Source: Libby Rosof, Vicente Wolf Photography Collection.

Frida Kahlo Life Studio

With Kahlo’s health on the decline, she had several more surgeries, furthering the attention she got when going under the knife. In her dramatic variation of Munchausen disorder, she turned her hospital stays into virtual parties.

According to Amy Fine Collins, "Frida exhorted her guests to look at her oozing sore, and when doctors drained it, Hayden Herrera wrote, she would 'exclaim over the beautiful shade of green.'”

Image Source: Libby Rosof, Vicente Wolf Photography Collection

Frida Kahlo Life Balcony Still

According to Collins, by 1939, Kahlo was drinking a bottle of brandy a day.

Image Source: Daniel Wold.

Frida Kahlo Life Parrots Portrait

Kahlo once said in a letter to a friend, “I drank because I wanted to drown my sorrows, but now the damn things have learned to swim.”

Image Source: Flickr

Frida Kahlo Life Diego Bed

Here, Kahlo can be seen reclining in bed with Rivera, sometime between 1942 and 1945. Kahlo is often regarded as a feminist icon, but it seems that she was dependent on her husband in a way that would make some feminists uneasy.

Image Source: Chester Dale

Frida Kahlo Life Poor Little Deer

She also tended to paint herself as a quiet, suffering individual. Such a sentiment can be seen in this 1946 painting, "The Wounded Deer."

- Flickr

Frida Kahlo Life Water

In 1946, Kahlo endured a painful surgery to fuse vertebrae in her spine.

- Flickr

Frida Kahlo Life Broken Column Wheelchair

Here, we can see Kahlo after the operation. Of the doctor who performed her surgery, she wrote, “He is so marvelous this doctor, and my body is so full of vitality.”

Image Source: Flickr

Frida Kahlo Life With Dog

When her diet of cigarettes and sweets caught up with her and her teeth started to rot, Kahlo had two sets of custom dentures made; one with diamonds and one with gold.

Image Source: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Frida Kahlo Life With Fawn

In 1950, Kahlo had more surgery on her spinal column, as it was determined that the doctor she’d liked so much fused the wrong vertebrae.

The incision sites became abscessed, and the procedure had to be done a third time. Kahlo was in a hospital bed for more than a year.

- Flickr

Frida Kahlo Life Black And White Stamp

The last of her 30-plus surgeries was the amputation of her right leg in 1953.

- Wikimedia Commons

Frida Kahlo Sitting Braid Painting Monkeys

Frida Kahlo died on July 13th, 1954, not long after the amputation. Records show that cause of death was a pulmonary embolism, but many insist that it was suicide by overdose of painkillers.

Image Source: Sandra Gonzalez and Edward Weston

Frida Kahlo life diary pages

As further proof that Kahlo committed suicide, this quote was found in the pages of her diary, "I hope the exit is joyful — and I hope never to return — Frida".

Image Source: Sonja Alves

Frida Kahlo Life Street Art Leaves Portrait

Her legacy lives on: On an individual level, people connect with Kahlo’s portrayals of feeling damaged and alone.

At a broader level, Californian Chicano artists have been incorporating her image into murals since the 1970s as a way to celebrate her work as well as their own heritage.

Image Source: Flickr

Like this gallery? Share it!

Continue Reading

What We Loved This Week, Mar. 27 – Apr. 2

Nuns selling weed, stunning art made with leaves, living with corpses in Indonesia, the world’s weirdest sex laws, and travel expectations vs. reality.

nuns-grow-marjuana

The sisters cultivate weed according to the moon cycles. Photo by Shaughn Crawford and John DuBois. Image Source: Bored Panda

These California Nuns Grow, Smoke, And Sell Marijuana

nuns-smoke-marjuana

California municipalities are considering a cultivation ban that would make the nun’s enterprise illegal. Photo by Shaughn Crawford and John DuBois. Image Source: Bored Panda

The Sisters of the Valley in Merced, California are spreading the word of God — and weed. As you might have guessed, these aren’t your typical nuns. Neither Catholic nor even traditionally religious, these licensed Medical Marijuana growers cultivate weed according to the moon cycles. Their products, which are all organic, are sold online and treat a variety of ailments from back pain to hangovers. Each jar and bottle gets its own little prayer before being shipped for distribution. See more at Bored Panda.

nuns-weed

Their products, which are all organic, treat a variety of ailments including back pain, migraines, and even hangovers. Photo by Shaughn Crawford and John DuBois. Image Source: Bored Panda

Continue Reading

11 Things You Didn’t know About Vincent Van Gogh

Born March 30th, 1853, Vincent van Gogh would go on to become one of the most legendary figures in all of art history. But there are still many things most people don’t know about the troubled painter.

Van Gogh Self Portrait

A self-portrait of Van Gogh. Image Source: Wikipedia

One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Vincent Van Gogh sadly did not live long enough to see the extent of his legacy. Only 37 years old when he died, the Impressionist painter lived a brief life, marred by madness — and one which we know a lot about, thanks to the frequency with which he penned letters to his family and few friends. That said, there are still some interesting facets of van Gogh’s life that are not such common knowledge…

Continue Reading

The Most Incredible Street Photography On Flickr

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better description of street photography than that of National Geographic photographer Benjamin Lowy, who described it as, “A harsh name for a beautiful pursuit.” Its purpose? “To tame the chaos. To frame the cacophony of modern life. To capture what it means to be alive.”

While the legality of taking pictures of people (without their express consent) in public to sell as fine art has stirred considerable debate, it continues to be protected under the categorization of artistic expression and free speech. Here are some of the best street photography that Flickr has to offer in its vast pool of talent:

Prev Next 1 of 32
Best Street Photography Angel Wings

The timing of this photo suggests that angels are all around us. London, UK. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Child Bus

A child takes in the sights from the best seat on the bus. Venice, Italy. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Dublin Skater

The sky is the limit for this skateboarder in Dublin, Ireland. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Feet Minimal

The framing of this photo looks as good as putting your feet up feels. Cologne, Germany. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Ferris Wheel

A ferris wheel glistens against the obsidian sky. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Girl Bench

A woman waits for her ride, solo. Antwerp, Belgium. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Glasgow Scotland

A pedestrian bridges the gap between new and old architecture. Glasgow, Scotland. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Homeless Man Dog

A man is photographed with his best friend. Bremen, Germany. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Kids In Sprinkler

Pure joy found near a water sprinkler in Singapore. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Hide And Seek

A woman peers from a doorway in Hoi An, Vietnam. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Leg Up

There's always something to get distracted by when you're out walking in the urban jungle. New York City. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Mannequin Mirroring

As this street shot suggests, you are never as alone as you feel. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Multitasking

A man acts as the living and breathing manifestation of "multi-tasking." Chow Kit Market, Malaysia. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Rotterdam

Negative and positive space convenes in this minimalist photo. Rotterdam, Netherlands. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Shadow Sax

A man plays the saxophone to his shadow. Portland, OR. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Skate Lines

A brilliant composition of subject and surroundings. Copenhagen, Denmark. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Smoking Bus Stop

People approach a bus in Singapore. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Smoking Melons

Photographer John Ragai described this shot: "Portrait of a Smoking Joe and his beautiful smoke amidst his honey dew." Chow Kit Market, Malaysia. - - Flickr

Best Street Photography Starbucks Love

A candid moment over coffee. Lucern, Switzerland. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Stripes

How many different kinds of stripes can you spot in this image? - Flickr

Best Street Photography The Kiss

A couple sneaks a kiss in public. Lucerne, Switzerland. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Toddler Heart

A toddler ponders street sculpture. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Up Stairs

A man ascends stairs, Zagreb, Croatia. - Flickr

Best Street Photography White Rabbit

A white rabbit entertains people in the streets of Oxford, UK. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Window Woman

A cafe-goer offers an ambiguous expression. Tel Aviv, Israel. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Catching Air

A biker catches some air. - Flickr

Best Street Photography New Delhi

A one sided conversation with a worker in New Delhi. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Two Worlds

Two very different worlds collide on a street corner in Madrid, Spain. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Escalator

Reflections of an escalator ride. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Tunnel

All leading lines point to the man at the end of the tunnel. - Flickr

Best Street Photography Generations

Different generations segregate themselves — but still remain close. Perpignan, South France. - Flickr

Like this gallery? Share it!


Next, check out the world’s best street art and the breathtaking wildlife photography of Will Burrard-Lucas.

Close Pop-in
Like All That Is Interesting

Get The Most Fascinating Content On The Web In Your Facebook & Twitter Feeds