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An unclassifiable painting?

The Mexican artist is difficult to classify in a specific category. But why?
Because her pictorial work evolves over the years, crossing various artistic currents. The artist does not lock herself in any predefined class.
When André Breton tried, in 1939, to make her a surrealist painter, on the occasion of the exhibition on Mexico in Paris, Kahlo reacted quickly, she said "They thought I was a surrealist, but I was not. I never painted dreams, I painted my reality."
The artist's style is heterogeneous, that is to say, it is composed of several different styles, mixed together and producing a unique, original painting whose strength and grandeur resonate to us.
portrait of frida kahlo

Understanding the evolution of Kahlo's painting


What are the different artistic currents that run through the work of Frida Kahlo?
The style is always figurative in the Frida Kahlo paintings. While some art specialists see her as a surrealist artist, others prefer to classify her as a realist. More precisely, the Frida Kahlo paintings seem to belong to the current of magic realism.

Although Frida painted her reality, the elements and composition are irrational, strange and magical.
This is why the expression "magic realism", introduced in 1925 by Franz Roh, is used to designate this type of painting.
But the artist's favorite technique is undoubtedly the self-portrait. Kahlo painted 55 self-portraits out of a total of 143 paintings!


Why did Frida paint so many self-portraits?

The most famous Frida Kahlo paintings are her self-portraits.
Few artists have painted so many representations of themselves.
When we think of "self-portrait painting", we immediately think of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Picasso and Frida Kahlo!
The Mexican artist frequently represents herself alone or with animals at her side.
Her husband, the artist Diego Rivera, is also regularly represented in his self-portraits.

self-portrait of frida kahlo
The artist's attachment to this style of painting stems from her painful childhood, and in particular from her traumatic accident in 1925, which left her with physical and psychological scars for the rest of her life.
Her difficult daily life, her handicap and her tormented mind locked her in a circle of pain and suffering that would never leave her.
Frida transcribed this suffering in her paintings and especially in her self-portraits, where she did not hesitate to represent herself in a tragic, weakened, tortured and wounded way.
Her autobiographical and narrative style is unique: all her paintings tell of her own life, her loves, her difficulties, her fears and her past.
It is essentially this uniqueness that makes Kahlo a world-renowned artist.

Understanding the importance of Mexican culture in her work

Very close to her origins and the culture of her country, Mexico, Kahlo never ceased to paint elements and place references to her country in her paintings.
In fact, she often painted symbols that recall Mexico: monuments, ruins and Aztec and pre-Hispanic objects, flags, fauna and flora typical of this geographical region, traditional clothing, attachment to symbols of death (skull, mask and skeleton), etc.

The artist is a nationalist and proudly represents the Mexican identity. And not only in his paintings!
Outside of her paintings, Kahlo regularly dresses in traditional Mexican clothing, paints herself in the fashion of her country and wears colorful clothes and authentic jewelry. The work "My dress is hanging there", painted in 1933, represents the artist's attachment to traditional Mexican dress.

Kahlo: modern, self-taught and committed painter?

During her lifetime, Kahlo was a recognized painter in her country and internationally.
Since her death in 1954, the recognition of the artist has continued to grow.
She is now considered an artist of genius, resolutely modern, delightfully polemical, engaging and whose paintings remain exceptional, unique and disturbing.

This is all the more powerful because Kahlo learned to paint alone, bedridden after a bus accident, suffering from pain, as a perfect autodidact.
The style and messages conveyed by the artist are all the more powerful and dramatic. Because, yes, Kahlo is also a woman artist engaged in everyday life and in her art. She is politically committed (she joined the Mexican Communist Party, like her husband, Diego Rivera) and socially committed.
Her everyday life is a feminist protest against the hindrance of women, especially Mexican women.
Her whole life is a life of freedom and pleasure, far from the chains imposed by society.


    The artists of Carré d'artistes were inspired by the works of Frida Kahlo through a beautiful collection of unique and certified artworks! There is no other in the world, by buying a work of art at Carré d'artistes, you support a community of more than 600 international artists. 
    Want to start or expand your art collection? It is here! 

    Read more articles about Frida Kahlo :  

    ¡ Viva el arte ! : paintings inspired by Frida Kahlo
    🎨 Top 10 things to know about the artist Frida Kahlo
    🎨 Frida Kahlo's influence today
    🎨 Discovering Frida Kahlo
    🎨 The 5 most beautiful paintings of Frida Kahlo

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