Saturday, August 30, 2008

La Casa Azul

How better to get to know an artist than in
their own home?

While taking a self-guided recorded tour through the Blue House in Coyoacán, I got some insight into Frida Khalo’s existence. Born in 1907, she was one of the most intriguing feminist icons of the 20th Century.

Openly bisexual, Khalo endured a tumultuous marriage with an equally celebrated eccentric artist, Diego Rivera, whom she married in 1929, divorced in 1939 and remarried in 1940. She lived with him at La Casa Azul until her death in 1957.

Frida Khalo was one of four girls born to a German immigrant father and Mexican mother. Due to an unfortunate series of mishaps – polio as a child and a serious bus accident when she was 18, Khalo was sometimes wheel chair bound, and I couldn’t help but wonder how she managed up and down the many stairs in the home.

In addition to painting, Khalo loved to sew and some pieces of clothing are on display in the home. She was also an avid reader on topics ranging from science to philosophy to politics and culture. She and Rivera mingled with North American and European famosos, such as Mexican film star Maria Felix and Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, who are alluded to around the house. Andre Breton invited her to do an exhibition in Paris in 1939, and the Louvre bought The Frame, which according to Wikipedia is “the first work by a 20th century Mexican artist ever purchased by the internationally renowned museum.”

Visitors are not allowed to take photos inside the home, so I shot some around the exterior of the house and in the lush courtyard.

I hope you enjoy this peek into an important piece of Mexican pop culture and history as complementary reading material with your favorite south of the border libation! There is a Frida Khalo tequila, which I have yet to try - but I have been sampling my share of Cazadores tequila down here and highly recommend it.

No comments: