thumbnail of Frida Kahlo: Portrait of an Artist
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<v Frida Kahlo>I am the subject I know best. <v Frida Kahlo>I paint myself because I am so often alone. <v Narrartor>For years, Mexican artist Frida Kahlo was known to the public only as the way for <v Narrartor>the great muralist Diego Rivera. <v Narrartor>To those who knew her, she was a remarkable painter who triumphed over a life of physical <v Narrartor>suffering. <v Speaker>A legacy from an accident that injured her spine and left her crippled at the age of 18. <v Speaker>I suffered two grave accidents in my life, one in which a streetcar knocked <v Speaker>me down. <v Speaker>The other accident is Diego. <v Speaker>Her marriage to Rivera was a stormy one. <v Speaker>Although she shared his political beliefs in total absorption in Mexican culture. <v Speaker>Flamboyant and impassioned, she became a myth partly of her own creation.
<v Speaker>Surrealist claimed her as one of their own, but she said of her work. <v Speaker>I never painted dreams. <v Speaker>I painted my own reality. <v Speaker>Frida Kahlo was an artist whose paintings were totally original and came directly out of <v Speaker>her own experiences. <v Speaker>She lived a life of physical and emotional pain, but she embraced her suffering <v Speaker>and used it to create vibrant, compelling works of art.
<v Speaker>Frida Kahlo is largely unrecognized during her lifetime. <v Speaker>She was overshadowed by her husband, Diego Rivera, Mexico's most renowned muralist. <v Speaker>Frida involved is down the stink from Diego's. <v Speaker>Well, he painted huge murals portraying sweeping views of history and human events. <v Speaker>She painted on small canvases, mainly self portraits and scenes from her life. <v Speaker>Her friend, Ella Wolf, nobody took notice of her until <v Speaker>after she died. Nobody. <v Speaker>People bought her things, you know. Who were devoted to her as a person. <v Speaker>Many people bought things, but they were always comparing <v Speaker>it to the great maestro Diego. <v Speaker>Her paintings were often intense and always personal, mirroring a life of sorrow and <v Speaker>pain. At six, she had polio. <v Speaker>And at 18, an accident left her crippled and severely damaged her spine. <v Speaker>She underwent numerous operations and spent much of her life bedridden.
<v Speaker>Because of her illness, she had several miscarriages and abortions and remain childless. <v Speaker>Despite her afflictions, she relished life and revealed to others <v Speaker>little of the torment which infused her paintings. <v Speaker>Her student, Fanny Rebelle. <v Speaker>Nobody could believe that a person who had suffered so many <v Speaker>physical tortures, you know, could have <v Speaker>such a sense of humor and such moods for living <v Speaker>such a wonderful wedding to live. <v Speaker>And to talk about all her pains <v Speaker>with humor. <v Speaker>Well, Frida suffered physically. <v Speaker>Diego himself was the source of another kind of anguish. <v Speaker>He frequently indulged his weakness for beautiful women. <v Speaker>Her friend Adelina's Indicus labels Phala. <v Speaker>I fell asleep reading to him. <v Speaker>Yeah, if if we might grow gone forever.
<v Speaker>No, they like it not. V. <v Speaker>V. He can. Now, if you know the therapy. <v Speaker>Better look at him. Yeah. <v Speaker>Look at him. <v Speaker>Women have fallen in love with her work. <v Speaker>Our dealer, Mary Ann Martin. <v Speaker>Certain people just feel the sense of identification when they see her work <v Speaker>and they see her suffering. <v Speaker>And I would say a little bit her masochism. <v Speaker>At the risk of being provocative, I find a lot of people identify. <v Speaker>They feel that this woman is speaking to them directly. <v Speaker>I think she was a little self obsessed. <v Speaker>And I think I suspect that she was intensely narcissistic. <v Speaker>Her biographer, Heyden Herrera. <v Speaker>I think that she wanted like a novelist wanting to tell her story. <v Speaker>She actually needed to tell about her pain and about the events <v Speaker>in her life. <v Speaker>1910, the start of the Mexican Revolution and a prolonged bloody conflict,
<v Speaker>which was the last more than 10 years. <v Speaker>Frida Kahlo was three years old. <v Speaker>Led by such legendary figures as Hema Yamas up at the end Pancho Villa. <v Speaker>The revolution sought to rid the country of the vestiges of colonialism and give birth <v Speaker>to a New Mexico. <v Speaker>Freed of the third of four daughters grew up an independent and rebellious spirit. <v Speaker>Her father was a Hungarian Jew from Germany and a well-established photographer. <v Speaker>Her mother, a devout Catholic, Spanish and Indian descent. <v Speaker>Millions of Mexicans were poor Indians and peasants. <v Speaker>Most worked on vast colonial haciendas owned by a few families. <v Speaker>The revolution demanded Hitler leave that land in liberty <v Speaker>for the poor and the powerless.
<v Speaker>Despite her own middle class background, Frida would throughout her life identify <v Speaker>closely with her Indian roots and with the Mexican Revolution. <v Speaker>I see her childhood sweetheart, Andrew Goma's ideas, <v Speaker>policies, and I will Mikiko get told ibs dubba extremist <v Speaker>CVO for assurity most Movimiento Revolutionary's <v Speaker>India cosmetologists no sort Roscosmos you cannot see am is when <v Speaker>I was your mechanic inconsequent them in. <v Speaker>Yes. Never be mean. I think that is salary larkham this year Mrs. Sa'adi. <v Speaker>I mean then panicky impression <v Speaker>that I will now maintain that I've yet to get it done face <v Speaker>come into a who when he said I <v Speaker>on alive.
<v Speaker>In 1922, Foody was one of very few women to attend the National <v Speaker>Preparatory School in Mexico City, considered the best university in the country. <v Speaker>It was a time of political upheaval throughout Mexico, and the university was <v Speaker>no exception. <v Speaker>Free to belong to a student group active in protests over university autonomy, <v Speaker>her political beliefs led her to join the Communist Party. <v Speaker>Classmate of the Lenard's in Davis. <v Speaker>I think you don't know yet. <v Speaker>I'm still your family, madam. He's needs me. <v Speaker>Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. ABA lab. A fee one, Beth. <v Speaker>If he went then in one black poverty rate or <v Speaker>one bomb. But if he more creative new contender or a football game,
<v Speaker>a phone number, clearly they'd ever play. <v Speaker>They lost Jingjing game. <v Speaker>I in important today for the last singularity. <v Speaker>Salva Kiir, Darkey Gaita. <v Speaker>When I'm with Choucha Patel Menti if it ain't the same as me <v Speaker>Chechen's this movie. <v Speaker>How would I simply see sexy. <v Speaker>We attract diva yuppies out of the Olympic venue. <v Speaker>In fact the game don't stand here came. <v Speaker>You know this was, this was pure and this happens out of the east. <v Speaker>I judger gesture the athlete. <v Speaker>At six years old, Frida had been stricken with polio, but she <v Speaker>hit her lameness a yet knock <v Speaker>them off strapper to beat for Arthur. <v Speaker>Though he came to me that got me never fear Embrey <v Speaker>of Orlando to find that we had our faith in beer
<v Speaker>bottle of Scotch. If he never got Maryland, I. <v Speaker>He got me. Never seen. <v Speaker>But I cannot tell, you know, better lavae variance in dream B <v Speaker>will not be. Good luck. <v Speaker>On September 17th, 1925, the accident occurred which <v Speaker>would transform her life completely from the center of the city. <v Speaker>She and Alexandra left school and took a bus home and some accidentally <v Speaker>chmielewski a connotation featherless. <v Speaker>Yes, unless you die, they may equal Yooralla ABC <v Speaker>Ballis. King says he didn't elaborate. <v Speaker>I wouldn't eat. That brings he but stemming poverty that can <v Speaker>keep us so severe biosocial who seem to chic you alive <v Speaker>is that I much gleeful that my home with the abuse <v Speaker>when trying electrico called pillow. <v Speaker>I love the blues you know they struggle he
<v Speaker>kidada. And as what. This body is still a specified state of the. <v Speaker>I yeah. <v Speaker>Molly Stomata, you know, they love year off <v Speaker>in a family, remember, in coming home by that <v Speaker>name Altero Year. <v Speaker>But I guarantee, you know, guilelessly moments of the Heroes Men <v Speaker>on D-Day. <v Speaker>Paula Mahina Lagu All Bill loved. <v Speaker>Frida would say, rally. I lost my virginity. <v Speaker>Her pelvis and spinal column were each broken in three places. <v Speaker>Her collarbone and two ribs were broken. <v Speaker>Her right leg had 11 fractures in her right foot was crushed. <v Speaker>Confined to bed, she was bored and restless. <v Speaker>Her father lent Frida his paintbox, and she began to paint.
<v Speaker>Showing astonishing natural ability. <v Speaker>She produced a first serious painting and her first self-portrait. <v Speaker>I suffered two grave accidents in my life, one in which a streetcar knocked <v Speaker>me down. The other accident is Diego. <v Speaker>Freedom met, Diego Rivera was already a legendary <v Speaker>figure and a prolific and exuberant painter. <v Speaker>I am not merely an artist, but a man performing his biological function of producing <v Speaker>paintings just as a tree produces flowers and fruit. <v Speaker>A leader in the renaissance of Mexican euro art. <v Speaker>He was driven by his political ideas. <v Speaker>Inspired by the Mexican Revolution, he celebrated Indian history and culture.
<v Speaker>A staunch communist. He joined other leftist artists in proclaiming a new <v Speaker>kind of art. <v Speaker>It surges from the people. <v Speaker>It is collective in our own esthetic game is to socialize artistic expression. <v Speaker>Our supreme objective in art is to create beauty for all <v Speaker>beauty that enlightens and stirs the struggle. <v Speaker>Frida first met Diego when he was painting murals at the National Preparatory School. <v Speaker>The wife of Dagos biographer Berchem Wolf and these people <v Speaker>from the paper I toria used to watch Diego paint <v Speaker>and Diego was a strange looking fellow. <v Speaker>He had an enormous middle. <v Speaker>He had the most beautiful hands of a woman and he had the biggest <v Speaker>feet. And then he had eyes like a frog. <v Speaker>So everybody called him El Sapho the Frog.
<v Speaker>In August, you and your lack on Binya. <v Speaker>Yes, then I'm terror interested in less escalera yet if babba <v Speaker>email template. Don may be balat lap <v Speaker>but if either repent maybe <v Speaker>keep it. Is your vehicle over there. <v Speaker>Yoki, see it up there, near only for the young <v Speaker>lady here. Banquo, January 10 Fail. <v Speaker>Forgive me, goiter monstrosity Rafi. <v Speaker>Despite his appearance, Diego was a man of extraordinary charm and personal magnetism. <v Speaker>He was in the middle of a tempestuous Mary's to his second wife. <v Speaker>Whether Luper Muddy. <v Speaker>A striking woman whom Diego portrayed in his Miralles as a voluptuous figure. <v Speaker>By contrast, Dagos first portrait of Frida pictured her as a revolutionary, <v Speaker>distributing arms.
<v Speaker>Eager for his opinion. Frida's showed several of her paintings to Diego. <v Speaker>Her biographer, Heyden Herrera. <v Speaker>He liked the paintings very much and was extremely encouraging to her <v Speaker>and said she should definitely go on and become a painter. <v Speaker>But he also liked Frida. <v Speaker>They shared leftist values and they shared an interest in <v Speaker>art. I think that she was entranced by Rivera, who was an incredibly charming, <v Speaker>brilliant, articulate, funny, warm, complicated <v Speaker>man. And it also she said that she liked his great big fat <v Speaker>baby like body. And she told her school friend that she would like to wash <v Speaker>him and give him a bath. There's this turn towards Mexican ism and her work <v Speaker>and her. So this first self-portrait after she came into contact, Rivera, <v Speaker>she's wearing a Mexican blouse, make STK beads. <v Speaker>And so the whole stress on the Indian side was very important.
<v Speaker>After courtship of almost two years, Frida and Diego were married on <v Speaker>August 21st, 1929. <v Speaker>He was 43 and she was 22. <v Speaker>I fell in love with the eagle, and my parents did not like this because Diego was a <v Speaker>communist and because they said that he looked like a fat, fat, fat breugel. <v Speaker>They said that it was like a marriage between an elephant and a dove. <v Speaker>When Diego married Frida, he wanted his closest friends <v Speaker>to meet Frida, his new wife. <v Speaker>But he made the mistake of inviting Guadaloupe, <v Speaker>the wife that he had left. <v Speaker>Guadalupe got up, went over across the aisle to Frida, <v Speaker>lifted up her brown taffeta dress and shrieked <v Speaker>for these two crooked legs. <v Speaker>He left me.
<v Speaker>In 1930, newly married Frida and Diego traveled to San Francisco, <v Speaker>where Diego was commissioned to paint murals at the Pacific Stock Exchange and the <v Speaker>San Francisco Art Institute. <v Speaker>And together they explored the city, talking to the Italian fishermen and visiting <v Speaker>Chinatown. <v Speaker>The arrival of the world famous muralist and his young wife made headlines in the <v Speaker>city newspapers and they were courted by San Francisco society. <v Speaker>Free to post in Mexican costumes for Imogene Cunningham and other noted San Francisco <v Speaker>photographers, Ella Wolf, and they loved the <v Speaker>dramatic look in free. <v Speaker>They just loved her because she was something new, something different, <v Speaker>something exotic, the likes of which they'd never seen before. <v Speaker>When the couple was photographed by Edward Weston, he described Frida as <v Speaker>a little doll alongside Diego, but a doll in size only four.
<v Speaker>She's strong and quite beautiful. <v Speaker>Dressed in native costume. Even to what arches she causes much excitement <v Speaker>on the streets of San Francisco. <v Speaker>People stop in their tracks to look in wonder. <v Speaker>While Diego worked on his murals, Frida also painted mainly portraits <v Speaker>of people whom she met and knew in San Francisco. <v Speaker>She always marked herself as a painter and thought of herself as sort of almost a <v Speaker>amateur. She presented herself as a kind of charming, amateurish painter, <v Speaker>especially early on. <v Speaker>And it was Rivera who kept pushing her and wanting her to paint. <v Speaker>And she sort of painted when she felt like it. <v Speaker>And Rivera really wanted her to work harder. <v Speaker>In his mural at the Pacific Stock Exchange showing the bounty of California, Diego <v Speaker>included a portrayal of the famous horticulturalist Luther Burbank. <v Speaker>In a startling interpretation of the same subject, Frida portrayed Burbank as <v Speaker>half plant and half human death and life nourishing each other.
<v Speaker>She revealed her interest in fantasy and then the duality in interconnectedness of life <v Speaker>and death elements intrinsically Mexican, which would reappear in her <v Speaker>work. <v Speaker>San Francisco Freedon Diego traveled to Detroit, where Diego was <v Speaker>invited by Henry Ford to paint murals on the theme of industry at <v Speaker>the Detroit Institute of Arts. <v Speaker>Enthralled by the modern machine age, Diego eagerly accepted the commission. <v Speaker>Frida sat with him on the scaffold as he worked sometimes <v Speaker>12 and 14 hours without stop. <v Speaker>Diego's task was immense and took months to complete. <v Speaker>He was totally absorbed in his work. <v Speaker>Frida herself was less enamored of industrial America
<v Speaker>in the painting self-portrait on the borderline between Mexico and the United States. <v Speaker>She contrasted the industrial north. <v Speaker>Its smokestacks and machines with the harmony of her native land. <v Speaker>And replicas of its ancient culture. <v Speaker>In Detroit, two became pregnant and was delighted about the prospect of having a child. <v Speaker>Lucien Block, one of Diego's assistants who lived with him in Detroit. <v Speaker>I heard this strange sound. I thought she and you were having an argument. <v Speaker>It was about 4:00 in the morning. <v Speaker>It sounded like they were having a violent argument and she was crying <v Speaker>and I didn't know what I should do. <v Speaker>And suddenly Jeggo came in and said, Lucien. <v Speaker>Call a doctor, Fryday is having a miscarriage, <v Speaker>and she was in a pool of blood and she was crying and her hair <v Speaker>was all wet crying in the painting Henry Ford Hospital
<v Speaker>Free Frida recorded the sorrow over a miscarriage, picturing around her <v Speaker>bed symbols of her pain and misery. <v Speaker>With this work, she began to use painting to tell of the suffering in her life <v Speaker>and to release some of the pain. <v Speaker>After her miscarriage, Diego urged her to continue to paint. <v Speaker>He said wanted to paint stories of your own life. <v Speaker>And almost immediately after that, she painted the very beginning <v Speaker>of her life and she showed herself being born, born <v Speaker>with a head and her eyebrows already there. <v Speaker>When she painted those paintings, let's say my birth or Henry Ford <v Speaker>Hospital in the 1930s, they would have been incredibly shocking. <v Speaker>She had the courage to paint, as she's put it. <v Speaker>I paint my own reality and to paint it in the most direct way. <v Speaker>She's totally squeamish. <v Speaker>The brand new Rockefeller Center opened in New York in 1933,
<v Speaker>and to inaugurate it, the Rockefeller Commission did go to paint a mural in the RCA <v Speaker>building. <v Speaker>The country was still in the throes of the depression and freedon Diego suff, <v Speaker>frequent signs of hardship in the city's jobless and destitute. <v Speaker>Frida Inc., which saw in her painting. <v Speaker>My dress hangs there. <v Speaker>Her dress is standing, is hanging and in front of Wall <v Speaker>Street, and she is not in it because she was appalled <v Speaker>by the poverty and then the sort <v Speaker>of luxury of capitalist New York and at the same time, bread lines, protests. <v Speaker>Basically, it's free to taking a rather dim view of Manhattan during the <v Speaker>misery of the depression. <v Speaker>Diego's mural, meanwhile, unleashed a storm of controversy.
<v Speaker>It is scene of a worker's utopia. <v Speaker>He included Lenin. Much to the Rockefeller's consternation. <v Speaker>And all of a sudden, Frida told me, son, you better hurry up and take <v Speaker>photos as much as you can because it looks very bad right now. <v Speaker>Since a newspaper article that said that Rivera was painting communist activities <v Speaker>on the Rockefeller was footing the bill. <v Speaker>Frida recalled. <v Speaker>We were guests at dinner two or three times and we discussed the revolutionary movement <v Speaker>at great length. The Rockefeller knew quite well that the murals were to <v Speaker>depict the revolutionary point of view that they were going to be revolutionary <v Speaker>paintings. <v Speaker>Diego refused to remove Lennon from the mural and public outcry. <v Speaker>He was fired at midnight on February 10th, 1934. <v Speaker>The mural was removed from the walls of the RCA building and the space replaster. <v Speaker>According to a statement given by Rockefeller Center to The New York Times,
<v Speaker>the removal involved the destruction of the mural. <v Speaker>Returning to Mexico Freedom Day. <v Speaker>They moved into the house for Frida was born and raised. <v Speaker>The Blue House, now a museum. <v Speaker>Their home became a gathering place for artists, writers and intellectuals who identified <v Speaker>strongly with Mexican culture. <v Speaker>Their house was filled with native and popular art, which in colonial times <v Speaker>could be regarded with contempt. <v Speaker>Her house was like really an exhibition of color and <v Speaker>folklore and off art. <v Speaker>Her student, Fanny Rebelle, so we could use to <v Speaker>appreciate something that was not very appreciate and the middle class in
<v Speaker>Mexico. So it became a style of all <v Speaker>the Mexican artists and the Mexican intellectuals to have in <v Speaker>their homes all these the pot three and the <v Speaker>thick sides in this had office and then variola Ruiz. <v Speaker>Now, it is very common because everybody uses it and <v Speaker>because it has become in the style of Mexico's. <v Speaker>Pre Hispanic art inspired Frida's San Diego's work. <v Speaker>Before the coming of the Spaniards, the Mexican Indian artists had shown great force and <v Speaker>genius. Like all first rate artists, their work had been intensely local, <v Speaker>related to the soil, the landscape, the forms, animals, DTD and colors of their own <v Speaker>world.
<v Speaker>Above all, it had been emotions centered. <v Speaker>It was molded by their hopes, fears, joys, superstitions <v Speaker>and suffering. <v Speaker>Freed of so herself, literally nourished by green. <v Speaker>She suckles from her Indian wet nurse <v Speaker>who wears a Colombian mask. <v Speaker>At the same time, the Mexican sky nourishes or <v Speaker>blends in the earth. <v Speaker>Free to pay tribute to Indian and Mexican forms, placing herself <v Speaker>as a child in all of these images. <v Speaker>Diego studio was filled with traditional papier mâché skeletons.
<v Speaker>Evidence of his Frida's intense interest in Mexican art and its recurring <v Speaker>theme of death hidden her. <v Speaker>Frida and Diego seemed to have a kind of cyclical <v Speaker>view of time. And so that death was just part of an ongoing process. <v Speaker>Proud of it comes from the Aztecs who were very much preoccupied with death. <v Speaker>They also both seem to see the universes, everything interconnected. <v Speaker>So the death is just one thing and among many things. <v Speaker>Spurning the fashions of the times, Frida wore the traditional regional costumes
<v Speaker>of Mexico. <v Speaker>Mariana Mody, your Saffa was a child when she first met Frida. <v Speaker>When I first saw her because she always wore these long Mexican <v Speaker>dresses, I thought she was something like a movie star, someone I had never <v Speaker>seen before because, well, people in Mexico didn't <v Speaker>used to dress like that. <v Speaker>She used to wear. <v Speaker>All sorts of rings. One or two on each finger. <v Speaker>They were not expensive. They were Mexican jewelry, silver <v Speaker>and semi-precious stones. <v Speaker>She looked royal. <v Speaker>Her idea was to make herself into a work of art and the Mexican <v Speaker>costumes not only identified her with Mexico people, but made her into a marvelous <v Speaker>creature. <v Speaker>Her appearance, please, Diego, immensely. <v Speaker>The classic Mexican dress has been created by people for people, the Mexican <v Speaker>women who do not wear it do not belong to the people, but are mentally and emotionally
<v Speaker>dependent on a foreign class to which they wish to belong. <v Speaker>But Frida's costumes were not enough to prevent Diego from having affairs with other <v Speaker>women. <v Speaker>Including one with her sister, Christina. <v Speaker>In anguish over the affair, Frida painted a grisly scene and entitled. <v Speaker>A few small nips. <v Speaker>Based on a newspaper story she read about a man who viciously stabbed a woman <v Speaker>to death and when arrested, protested, but I only gave her a few <v Speaker>small nips. <v Speaker>If I loved a woman, the more I loved her, the more I wanted to hurt her. <v Speaker>Peter was the only obvious victim of this disgusting trait. <v Speaker>Although the Eagles and Fidelity hurt her deeply, Frida tried to dismiss <v Speaker>his affairs. <v Speaker>All these liaisons with Betty called lady teachers of English
<v Speaker>Gypsy models, assistance with good intentions only represent <v Speaker>flirtations. And at bottom, you and I love each other. <v Speaker>By the late thirties, Frida was troubled more and more by health problems. <v Speaker>She painted what the water gave me. <v Speaker>A surrealistic work with disturbing images of death, sexuality and pain. <v Speaker>She had continuing problems with the right foot crushed in the accident. <v Speaker>And increasingly, she's suffered terrible pains in her spine. <v Speaker>When I saw her, at least she was always happy. <v Speaker>She was making jokes. She was telling these stories all the time. <v Speaker>I never saw her sad or in pain. <v Speaker>I know that she was in pain. I knew it.
<v Speaker>But she wouldn't you know, she wouldn't complain. <v Speaker>She was kind enough to give me when she was with me all <v Speaker>her attention when she was talking to me. <v Speaker>She was talking to me. <v Speaker>This little girl, you know, pretty girl, didn't have any children. <v Speaker>She never could. <v Speaker>And she liked children a lot. <v Speaker>She had several miscarriages and therapeutic abortions. <v Speaker>There's a painting of her sitting on a bed with a doll, a baby doll <v Speaker>that was just a terrible substitute for actual baby. <v Speaker>It's said that Rivera did not want to have a child. <v Speaker>And that may have been a kind of conflict between them. <v Speaker>In the 1930s, the rise of fascism in Europe, outraged leftists in Mexico,
<v Speaker>moved by the plight of victims of the Spanish Civil War, Frida assisted refugees <v Speaker>by raising money and helping many to come to Mexico. <v Speaker>At home, both she and Diego are strong supporters of the country's new government under <v Speaker>Lacerda, Catalina's got in the nice redistributed <v Speaker>lands and encouraged the formation of labor unions. <v Speaker>He nationalized the country's oil industry in a move to promote Mexico's <v Speaker>economic independence from foreign interests. <v Speaker>In 1937, Guardedness granted asylum to Leon Trotsky, <v Speaker>who had been exiled from the Soviet Union by Stalin. <v Speaker>It was Diego who petition in us to allow the Russian revolutionary to come <v Speaker>to Mexico. <v Speaker>Because he was ill, Diego sent Frida to greet Trotsky when he arrived in Vera
<v Speaker>Cruz and they opened their home in Coyoacan to the famous revolutionary <v Speaker>and his wife. <v Speaker>The minute Trotzky laid eyes on Frida, he fell on top of. <v Speaker>And little by little, you know, those things <v Speaker>sort of gelled and they began this affair behind <v Speaker>DeLay was back. <v Speaker>Trust me, is a very attractive man. And like Diego, very famous man, it's I think it's <v Speaker>clear that Frida liked men who were leaders. <v Speaker>They. <v Speaker>They had a love affair, which was, I suspect, rather <v Speaker>brief. It was extremely dangerous and awkward for Trotzky to <v Speaker>leave the house. I mean, he had to go with guards and things like that. <v Speaker>After a political falling out with Diego, Trotzky moved into a nearby
<v Speaker>house in Coyoacan. <v Speaker>Trotsky was the target of repeated assassination attempts by Stalinists <v Speaker>within a year. He was murdered in his study by the Soviet <v Speaker>agent Ramone Mitiga, there for a time freedon Diego, who <v Speaker>knew Melika there were suspects in Trotsky's death. <v Speaker>Frida was questioned at length and released. <v Speaker>What remained of their relationship was a self-portrait, which she painted for <v Speaker>Trotzky and dedicated to him. <v Speaker>1939, free to travel to Paris, where her work was included in a show of surrealist. <v Speaker>She met artist Duchamp, Kandinsky and Picasso, among <v Speaker>others.
<v Speaker>The show was organized by Andre Breton, whom Freedom and through Trotzky in Mexico. <v Speaker>Calling her work a ribbon tied around a bomb. <v Speaker>Bricktown claimed her as a survivalist. <v Speaker>I never knew I was a surrealist till Andre Red Dawn came to Mexico and told me I was <v Speaker>the only thing I know is that I paint because I need to <v Speaker>and I paint always whatever passes through my head without any other consideration. <v Speaker>Up to this time, very little notice had been paid to Frida's work. <v Speaker>She is painting at the same time that the muralist movement was going on. <v Speaker>Everybody is painting enormous but mainly political paintings on public walls <v Speaker>and doing little private things wasn't considered fashionable. <v Speaker>It was considered rather peculiar. <v Speaker>The actor Edward G. Robinson, while traveling in Mexico, was
<v Speaker>one of the few early buyers of Frida's work. <v Speaker>The ego showed in my paintings and Robinson brought four of them from me for 200 <v Speaker>dollars each. <v Speaker>For me, it was such a surprise that I marveled and said this way <v Speaker>I am going to be able to be free. <v Speaker>I'll be able to travel and do what I want without asking Diego for money. <v Speaker>There was trouble in their marriage. <v Speaker>Jagels womanizing resulted in frequent separations. <v Speaker>Free to a sexually liberated woman had her own affairs, some <v Speaker>serious, some casual with both men and women. <v Speaker>She was a very sexual woman and tended to do <v Speaker>what she wanted to do. <v Speaker>But also I think Diego didn't fill all of her needs it couldn't possibly have. <v Speaker>He was much too egocentric a man. And therefore, there some needs that had to be <v Speaker>to have to find an outlet with other men. <v Speaker>But her estrangement from Diego tormented her.
<v Speaker>And an ominous self-portrait. <v Speaker>She has a hummingbird, traditionally a Mexican love charm. <v Speaker>Hanging lifeless on a necklace of thorns. <v Speaker>With her marriage to Diego failing, Frida painted herself as split into two <v Speaker>distinct persons. <v Speaker>The Indian whom Diego loved and the European whom Diego did not <v Speaker>love, as Frida herself described it. <v Speaker>The Indian Frida holds an image of the child, Diego, who is the lifeline. <v Speaker>And the European cuts off the blood from this lifeline <v Speaker>Freedon Diego divorced in 1940.
<v Speaker>The 1940 World's Fair was held in San Francisco. <v Speaker>Diego was invited to paint a mural celebrating Panamerican Unity. <v Speaker>As a symbol for American womanhood, dear God, chose Paulette Gotthard. <v Speaker>He met the lovely young actress through her husband, Charlie Chaplin, when they visited <v Speaker>Mexico. He was enchanted by her. <v Speaker>The portrait of Paulette Goddard in the Panamerican Unity <v Speaker>Mural has Paulette Goddard and Rivera holding hands around the <v Speaker>Tree of Life, and Paulette Goddard is incredibly attractive woman. <v Speaker>And then nearby stands Frida, who's very much a sort of symbol for Panamerican <v Speaker>unity. But not the attractive woman in Diego's life at that <v Speaker>point. <v Speaker>In retaliation, a despondent Frida cut off her long hair <v Speaker>and painted a self-portrait with her hair cropped. <v Speaker>And in men's clothing. <v Speaker>Her health worsened and her doctor wrote Diego that the divorce had exacerbated her
<v Speaker>illness. They decided to remarry. <v Speaker>Frida told a friend. <v Speaker>I will go to San Francisco and marry Diego again. <v Speaker>He wants me to do so because he says he loves me more than any other girl. <v Speaker>I am very happy. <v Speaker>They were remarried at San Francisco City Hall in December 1940, less <v Speaker>than a year after their divorce. <v Speaker>In a new self-portrait, Frida took her shorn hair and piled it haphazardly on top of <v Speaker>her head as a symbol of her patched up marriage. <v Speaker>Frida and Diego managed to find an accommodation in their marriage. <v Speaker>One in which he indulged his whims, caprices and sometimes even his love <v Speaker>affairs. <v Speaker>I will not speak of Diego as my husband because it would be ridiculous, <v Speaker>Diego never has been and never will be anyone's husband, <v Speaker>nor will I speak of him as a lover.
<v Speaker>Because to me, he transcends the domain of sex. <v Speaker>And if I speak of him as a son, I will have done nothing but describe <v Speaker>or paint my own emotions. <v Speaker>Diego echoed Frida's image of himself as a mischievous child, and she <v Speaker>is indulgent mother. <v Speaker>He called the egg the egg eater, which I could never understand when I was a little <v Speaker>girl, because imagine to call that huge Diego to call <v Speaker>him. You get the little Diego. <v Speaker>I never said relation with such a tender <v Speaker>relation one to the other, because she was protecting him <v Speaker>and he was protecting her from everything. <v Speaker>And that was so sweet. <v Speaker>And because the devil has always had it. <v Speaker>And he was famous for being, you know, a monster. <v Speaker>He had such a tender and sweet relation to free that
<v Speaker>like if he she would be his little child. <v Speaker>And she treated him like a child. <v Speaker>Frida continued to have severe and persistent pains in her spine. <v Speaker>She was forced to wear corsets, which provided little relief. <v Speaker>What they made. They get to the bend that <v Speaker>he's either on to get a party, he'll be there is <v Speaker>to have submitted our laptop computer based courses, <v Speaker>Calais putting me. He can have a sketchy. <v Speaker>They have Andre Speare, especially elementalist courses that Gibson <v Speaker>can play. <v Speaker>Gisele priva his decision. <v Speaker>When did you show Sindhu racing? <v Speaker>Yesterday. I mean. Yeah, Natera do that. <v Speaker>These people.
<v Speaker>She had surgery on her spine, which would be repeated several times during her life. <v Speaker>It was wonderful visiting with her always because in spite of her agony, she <v Speaker>could be very amusing. <v Speaker>She had wonderful stories to tell. And then she was beautiful to look at, really the way <v Speaker>she dressed. It's a sort of self-respect <v Speaker>and an unwillingness to let the image deteriorate, <v Speaker>the image that she had of herself and the image that she presented to <v Speaker>the world. <v Speaker>I've always felt that she painted so many self portraits as a way of confirming her <v Speaker>reality because she felt that her hold on reality, given her bad health, <v Speaker>was rather tentative and that if she painted self portrait, <v Speaker>she's a re-created herself as a solid thing. <v Speaker>To portray her illness, Frida adopted native Mexican bred Diablo's like this one.
<v Speaker>Traditionally, when someone has been saved from a grave sickness, a red diablo <v Speaker>is painted in Thanksgiving to Christ the Virgin or a saint. <v Speaker>In one of her versions of her diarrheal, Frida is a grateful patient and her doctor is <v Speaker>the savior. <v Speaker>In another, Frida is both the savior and the sick person. <v Speaker>She offers herself encouragement with a banner reading Tree of Hope. <v Speaker>Stand firm. <v Speaker>She didn't believe in God and said if she believed in, I think, more in herself and that <v Speaker>she would bring about her own salvation. <v Speaker>Catholic images of physical suffering also influenced Frida's work.
<v Speaker>The whole thing of Catholicism and pain, especially wounds <v Speaker>to the body, which you've got a great deal, and Mexican Catholic pictures and sculptures <v Speaker>that in every church as a bloody wounded Christ figure, <v Speaker>I think all of that comes out in her painting very strongly <v Speaker>freighted to Christ crown of thorns and put it around her neck. <v Speaker>She portrayed herself as a martyr or Christlike figure, suffering <v Speaker>was perhaps a path to salvation. <v Speaker>After a particularly difficult operation, she pictured herself as <v Speaker>a martyr. Dear.
<v Speaker>As Frida's health deteriorated, death was increasingly with her <v Speaker>death, had become a companion, a friend <v Speaker>in the dream. She placed above her bed a Mexican who a <v Speaker>paper mâché skeleton traditionally strung with fireworks and blown up during festivals. <v Speaker>She is sleeping in her bed and on the canopy of her bed. <v Speaker>Is this who does the skeleton figure which Diego called her <v Speaker>lover? He would tease her and call the skeleton her lover. <v Speaker>Well, she was very shocked by her death because of the fragility of her health. <v Speaker>But also, Frida's attitude about death was to make light of it, the sort of fight it off, <v Speaker>and it was something that she sparred with, played with, flirted with. <v Speaker>And I think that's why you see so many skeletons in her work.
<v Speaker>Who was still the center of her life? <v Speaker>She often worried about losing. <v Speaker>I simply wanted to be free to carry on with any woman who got my fancy, yet free to do <v Speaker>not object to my infidelity. <v Speaker>But she could not understand was my choosing women who were either unworthy of me or <v Speaker>inferior to her. <v Speaker>Let her draw any line, however. Was this not to circumscribe my freedom? <v Speaker>Despite her unhappiness, Frida came to terms with their relationship. <v Speaker>Perhaps they hope to hear from me laments about how much one suffers. <v Speaker>Living with a man like Diego. <v Speaker>But I do not believe that the banks of a river suffer for letting the water run <v Speaker>or that the earth suffers because it rains within my difficult <v Speaker>and obscure role of our play of an extraordinary being. <v Speaker>I have the same reward as a green dot within a quantity
<v Speaker>of red. <v Speaker>Frida had repeated surgery on her spine. <v Speaker>By the end of her life, she had undergone more than 30 operations of various <v Speaker>kinds. <v Speaker>It's just a guess, but I think that she may have had more operations than she should <v Speaker>have had. And it's somewhat like her paintings of herself <v Speaker>with a crown of thorns or with her bodies. <v Speaker>But open that was a kind of fascination with her own pain. <v Speaker>It's also possible that she knew that Rivera couldn't leave her if <v Speaker>she was in terrible health. So it could be that she would then go into a hospital <v Speaker>and make herself more helpless. <v Speaker>And then he would have to take care of her. <v Speaker>She developed osteomyelitis, an inflammation of the bone marrow which <v Speaker>caused progressive deterioration of her bones, a disease she might <v Speaker>have contracted from one of her operations.
<v Speaker>Afflicted and often alone, her solace was her love for Diego. <v Speaker>In her diary, she put forth her love and passionate stream of consciousness writings. <v Speaker>The nothing is comparable to your hands <v Speaker>and nothing is equal to the gold green of your eyes. <v Speaker>My body fills itself with you for days and days. <v Speaker>You are the mirror of the night. <v Speaker>The violent light of lightning. <v Speaker>The dampness of the earth. <v Speaker>Your armpit is my refuge. <v Speaker>My fingertips touch your blood. <v Speaker>As her health rapidly declined. <v Speaker>She turned to find strength in her political commitment and her devotion to <v Speaker>the Communist Party. <v Speaker>Until now, I've not painted anything but the honest expression of my own
<v Speaker>self. But absolutely distant from what my painting could do to serve <v Speaker>the party, I should struggle with all my strength for the little that is <v Speaker>positive that my health allows me to do in the direction of helping the revolution. <v Speaker>Even in these political paintings, she always made her statement personal. <v Speaker>She showed us how afraid of her crutches by Marks. <v Speaker>And included herself in a portrait of Stalin. <v Speaker>She pressed on with her work, although her bed health made her painting <v Speaker>tortured and imprecise. <v Speaker>In 1954, against her doctor's orders, a very sick Frida <v Speaker>attended a demonstration to protest United States actions in neighboring Guatemala. <v Speaker>Guatemalan President Kobel Autobahns had instituted land reforms <v Speaker>in expropriated holdings of the privately U.S. <v Speaker>owned United Fruit Company. <v Speaker>Arbenz was ousted in a coup supported by the U.S.
<v Speaker>Central Intelligence Agency. <v Speaker>And pretty does his PR move just manifest as your politics? <v Speaker>No, sir. Bring them they ski ing is the Casa Cascino <v Speaker>Bob Yappin SMP. <v Speaker>Here it is. These guys who come promesa lock you up. <v Speaker>Yep. And. Get on course as important this part <v Speaker>as you by U.S. see it. <v Speaker>I totally free to contracted pneumonia <v Speaker>and eight days later at the age of 47 she died. <v Speaker>Her body lay in state and her funeral was attended <v Speaker>by many of Mexico's noted artists, writers and politicians. <v Speaker>Including former President Carter, then us, as well <v Speaker>as her family and friends.
<v Speaker>We went to the cemetery with the red flag and with <v Speaker>everything. <v Speaker>And in the time she was cremated, all her pupils <v Speaker>and friends and the airborne, we were singing around, <v Speaker>you know, the fire and the songs she loved <v Speaker>and go with the. <v Speaker>He was you know, she was all the time. <v Speaker>How did you see when you put your name son, in <v Speaker>your hands, you know, like you suffer very much. <v Speaker>And then the end, the former president, the <v Speaker>cardinals was there. <v Speaker>It was very.
<v Speaker>Throughout, they have on that my but <v Speaker>it had a thing in plastic, I guess my make you can <v Speaker>either Leanna's indicus cannot go under the yoke on <v Speaker>which water would let my hair, my <v Speaker>African yamey. <v Speaker>Get Matthew, though. <v Speaker>And if he's doing me, Diego was a giant in <v Speaker>his time. <v Speaker>Art dealer Marion Martin. <v Speaker>But you also have to look at him as someone who chose to paint to speak for a particular <v Speaker>period. You know, he has this place in history. <v Speaker>Frida doesn't really have a place in history. Frida has occupied a smaller position, <v Speaker>but a very universal one. <v Speaker>I mean, there still are going to be people who have interior struggles and who <v Speaker>paint, you know, what they think. And there would be. <v Speaker>I'm sure the people aren't the human race isn't going to change that much. <v Speaker>And I think that her pains will have more meaning to individual collectors
<v Speaker>and viewers than Diego. <v Speaker>I think the ideas have to be explained in the time period. <v Speaker>And hers don't. <v Speaker>She's probably one of the two or three top valued Latin American <v Speaker>artists that exist. <v Speaker>And Horden, director of Latin American Art at Sotheby's. <v Speaker>My observation is that the people will collect or have a deeper relationship with <v Speaker>her paintings than the people who collect Diegos. <v Speaker>I think her time has come in a sense, but I don't think it will <v Speaker>depart. <v Speaker>Too late now I realize that the most wonderful part of my life had been my love for <v Speaker>Frida. <v Speaker>If I had died without knowing her, I would have died without knowing what a real woman <v Speaker>was. <v Speaker>In the panorama of Mexican painting, the work of Frida Kahlo shines like a diamond <v Speaker>in the midst of many inferior jewels, clear and hard, with precisely <v Speaker>defined facets.
Program
Frida Kahlo: Portrait of an Artist
Producing Organization
KQED-TV (Television station : San Francisco, Calif.)
Contributing Organization
KQED (San Francisco, California)
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
AAPB ID
cpb-aacip-55-78gf2s89
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Description
Program Description
"FRIDA KAHLO: PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST is an hour-long documentary exploring the life and times of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907-1954). Kahlo led a life as dramatic and haunting as the images she painted. Overshadowed during her lifetime by her husband; Mexico's renowned muralist Diego Rivera, she is now recognized as one of the foremost women artists of the century. "Kahlo overcame tremendous physical and emotional suffering to create compelling works of art. Severely hurt in a bus accident at 18, she suffered painful, lifelong injuries and spent much of her life bedridden. She created intensely personal, self-searching painting which reflected her indomitable spirit in the face of sorrow and pain. "The program recounts Kahlo's [story against] the historic times in which she lived. Together with Rivera, she was at the forefront of great social and political change. Both belonged to the Communist Party and were outspoken politically. The couple harbored the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky during his exile in [Mexico]. Totally absorbed in Mexican culture, Kahlo asserted her Mexican identity by rejecting European art forms, drawing inspiration, instead, from pre-Hispanic and indigenous art and culture. "The documentary weaves interviews with Kahlo's biographer, friends, students and critics with her paintings, photographs, home movies, newsreels and archival footage. The program is narrated by actor Edward James Olmos ('Zoot Suit,' 'Stand and Deliver')."--1989 Peabody Awards entry form.
Broadcast Date
1989
Created Date
1988-06-02
Asset type
Program
Topics
Fine Arts
Media type
Moving Image
Duration
00:57:32
Embed Code
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Credits
Producing Organization: KQED-TV (Television station : San Francisco, Calif.)
Release Agent: KQED
AAPB Contributor Holdings
KQED
Identifier: cpb-aacip-997804461f4 (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Generation: Master
Duration: 01:00:00
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-2d2e7fb8aeb (Filename)
Format: U-matic
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Citations
Chicago: “Frida Kahlo: Portrait of an Artist,” 1989, KQED, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-55-78gf2s89.
MLA: “Frida Kahlo: Portrait of an Artist.” 1989. KQED, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-55-78gf2s89>.
APA: Frida Kahlo: Portrait of an Artist. Boston, MA: KQED, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-55-78gf2s89