Frida Kahlo (Mexico, 1907 - 1954) unframed pastel drawing on paper depicting a portrait of Frida Kahlo and titled "Auto Retrato" or "Self Portrait", executed in 1941. Measures 15-7/8" in height with width of 13-1/2" & signed to uppper right "Mexico Frida Kahlo 1941". All measurements are approximate. Complete with certificate of authenticity & letter of provenance, please see photographs. Also included is the original bill of sale signed by Friday Kahlo, wherein this piece was originally purchased by the actress Paulette Goddard on January 3, 1941. This piece was probably a commissioned piece, note dates. (See photographs for this as well.) Provenance: comes from the estate of a prominent Texas collector, who's family had acquired it as a gift from the actress Paulette Goddard.
Magdalena Carmen Frida Calderon (Frida Kahlo) was born on July 6, 1907 in Mexico City, the daughter of a German Jewish father & a Mexican mother. She lived her adult life in the shadow of her husband, famed muralist & Mexican national hero Diego Rivera whom she had known since childhood. They embarked on their violent courtship following his divorce from his second wife. The were both temperamental & noisy Communists, & she proudly proclaimed that she had never been expelled from the communist party, as Diego was. He was obese, unfaithful, & psychologically abusive, yet Frida retaliated with her own bisexual affairs. Kahlo once called Rivera "the other accident" in her life, and she lamented her inability to possess him completely. A grisly accident occurred when she was a teenager: a streetcar hit the bus in which she was riding and drove a handrail into her abdomen and out her vagina. As a result her pregnancies resulted in miscarriages and abortions. Semi-crippled and in constant pain, she required several ghastly operations and enough liquor to make her a probable alcoholic. She was extremely loyal to her country; she altered her birthdate to coincide wth the start of the 1910 Mexican Revolution, and to her politics; at her cremation a hammer and sickle was draped over the casket. She didn't enjoy a long enough career to make it into the coffee-table books while she she was still alive. In 1939, after Kahlo returned to Mexico & after some success with exhibitions of her work in Paris & New York, she & Rivera divorced. Her health deteriorated, yet she continued to paint. She and Rivera remarried in 1940, but her physical condition worsened. After her death she was transformed from the "wife of Diego Rivera" to the art world's version of Sylvia Plath, in many opinions. The resurrection of Kahlo started in the 1970s, when her work began to generate excitement in the women's liberation movement. But there always has been much controversy about the worth of her work. She was hailed by the Surrealists and unabashedly admired by Picasso; yet in Mexico itself there are many who feel she is over-rated. She is the subject of numerous biographies, exhibitions and documentary films, not to mention souvenir T-shirts, calendars and posters. For women and feminists, especially, she is a heroine who overcame great odds to create an identity for herself in art. She died in 1954.