“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.” -Frida Kahlo
“When you look at Kahlo’s art, there is no getting away from the woman herself. Even if you have never engaged with her work, never stopped in a gallery to peer at one of her small canvases, you will be familiar with her face – its slight monobrow and moustache, its smooth black hair and full mouth.
“With the familiarity of her look comes also the fame of her personality and her story. Ever since Hayden Herrera’s influential biography was published in 1983 – and even more since the Hollywood biopic, Frida, starring Salma Hayek, was released in 2002 – Kahlo’s highly coloured and passionate life has been as eagerly consumed, or even more eagerly consumed, than her highly coloured and passionate art. Kahlo’s life seems to be a kind of template for how a female bohemian should behave, with her vivid clothes, rebellious social behaviour, affairs with men (including Trotsky) and women, and her tempestuous marriage to fellow artist and communist Diego Rivera.
“Given this adherence to an ideal artistic temperament and biography, it’s hardly surprising that Kahlo occupies such a comfortable niche in modern celebrity. Her most famous collector is Madonna; fashion designers claim her as their “muse”; the US postal service has put her on a stamp in order to show their “commitment to diversity”; Volvo has used her image in advertisements. And the National Portrait Gallery is currently showing not her work, but photographs of Kahlo herself.” -The Guadian