Artist Highlight

Couples in Art: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

Detroit Industry - North Wall by Diego Rivera

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We’ve all heard of volatile relationships in romance. These relationships have been the focus of the arts for millennia. You only have to look at works such as “Othello”, “My Last Duchess”, “Death of a Salesman”, or “La Boheme” to understand that tragic love stories are nothing new. In the case of married couple Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, however, love and strife made some of the greatest art pieces in the 20th century, and in so doing, were able to celebrate each other and their Mexican heritage.

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A Short Biography

Diego Rivera was born to wealthy parents in Guanajuato state in Mexico. Frida was born in Mexico City. A tragedy occurred to Frida when she was 18, she was involved in a near-fatal car accident that fractured her spine and left her in constant pain for the rest of her life, which meant she gave up her career as a doctor in order to recuperate, which she did partly through painting. While taking classes in art in Mexico City, Frida met Diego, who was impressed with her talent and they married not long after. Their marriage was volatile, with both of them having affairs and enduring separations, but they remained together.

While Diego and Frida had different styles, their art expands on life in Mexican society. Diego’s murals and paintings reflect the rural Mexican farm life he grew up in, and display a depth and warmth for the people of Mexico. Frida’s works also had images of Mexican society, as well as numerous self-portraits, but her paintings are described as fantastical realism or mystical naturalism. Interestingly, while Diego Rivera’s paintings are well known, Frida Kahlo is growing more famous as the years pass.

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Art Influenced by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo’s work, found here, as well as work by other artists who were inspired by Frida’s art. As noted above, many pieces of Frida’s work are self-portraits, with different colors and aspects of her face used. Some of the artists influenced by Frida have used her work to illustration Mexican cultural traditions such as the Day of the Dead. Interestingly, much of Diego-influenced work, found here, shows workers in their natural states of work, which was a common theme during his period of work. His art and other works influenced by his art demonstrate the beauty of the female body as a symbol of the divine through the nudes he painted. Some of the artists influenced by Diego’s work have portrayed Diego and Frida together.

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If you love a good love story, or a volatile one such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s, look no further than the love shown for these two artists here at Fine Art America. Clearly, these two artists might have had a crazy up and down relationship, but they also had enormous respect for each other and their talents, as do we. No two artists have captured the imagination and the spirit of the Mexican people quite as clearly as this couple.

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