Painting With The Girls 219
August 6, 2016
Day 219 (147 days to go)
In 1932, Frida Kahlo accompanied Diego to Detroit where the Art Institute invited him to paint a mural. This was a very sad and stressful time in Frida’s life. She discovered she was pregnant and lost the baby due to a very serious medical problem. Martha Zamorra writes in her book Frida Kahlo, The Brush of Anguish, “In the retelling, and in a painting, Frida claimed to have lost a baby. Her extreme isolation in a strange land, coupled with her apparently conflicted emotions about having a child, is movingly recalled in Henry Ford Hospital (1932). She expressed the dramatic event in a small painting with strongly contrasted colors in a simple but effective style that disregards scale or proportion.”
Later, Frida went back to Mexico to see her mother, who died of cancer a few days later. Frida wanted to stay in Mexico with her family and friends, but she went back to the US where Diego had been hired in New York to paint a mural at Rockefeller Center instead. This mural caused a lot of controversy because Diego was dismissed for refusing to remove the communist elements from the mural.
After months of being in New York, Frida and Diego ran out of money. Reluctantly, Diego agreed to go back to Mexico. In 1933 they moved into the house that Diego had designed for them. The house had two separate living spaces connected with a bridge door between them. This feature was designed by their friend Juan O’Gorman to function as two separate studios and homes, one for Frida and one for Diego, so that they could live independently from each other.
This arrangement didn’t last long. Frida found out that Diego was having an affair with her sister Cristina. This was too much for Frida to accept, and shortly after her discovery of the affair, she bought an apartment in Mexico City, where she moved with her pet monkey and bird.
Two years later, Frida forgave Diego and told him she would rather turn a blind eye to his affairs than live away from him. She reconciled with Cristina and decided to live her own life. She became involved with Ignacio Aguirre, who was a painter, Isamu Noguchi, who was a sculptor, and Nicholas Murray, who was a photographer.
Martha Zamorra writes in her book Frida Kahlo, The Brush of Anguish, “Even though Frida’s liaisons allowed her to reaffirm her power of attraction, and to counteract the pain of her husband’s escapades, her primary and exclusive love for Diego never abated. Once the flood of romantic passion had ebbed, she wanted to return to the firm ground of her true love, to Diego.”
In 1937 Frida asked Diego to intervene with the Mexican government to bring Leon Trotsky to Mexico in exile. He arrived with his wife, Natalia Sedova, and they moved into La Casa Azul. This marks one of Frida’s most unlikely affairs. She and Trotsky were involved for months despite of Diego’s irrational jealousy.
Through out all of these relationships and her life with Diego, Frida was painting in high volume. Art collectors were recognizing her work and her paintings were selling in New York.