Frida Kahlo loved her birds…

Updated: Sep 17, 2019

Frida Kahlo once said, “I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality”. At the age of 6 she battled polio causing her to endure complications with her right leg. Shortly after Frida was involved in a life threatening trolley crash which would lead her to be in a constant state of physical pain for the rest of her life. She couldn’t have children due to her chronic medical conditions. She decided to take care of her many pets instead. Frida had monkeys, dogs, a deer, and a variety of birds. Some of these birds included parakeets, macaws, hens, and sparrows. However, the bird she often painted was her parrot named Bonito. She was also photographed with her pet eagle named Gertrudis Caca Blanca. Some of her artworks that use bird imagery include: Me and My Parrot, (1941), Self-Portrait with Bonito, (1941), Self-portrait with thorn necklace and Hummingbird, (1940), and Self-portrait-The Frame (1938). The Frame, (1938) was the first painting from a 20th century Mexican artist to be purchased by a major art institution such as The Louvre. In this work, Frida is surrounded by a border of flowers and birds with a specific emphasis on their wings. It also serves as a mixed medium work composed of oil paints layered on aluminum and glass. When the Parisians asked Frida why she only painted herself, her response was iconically simple, “I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know the best”.


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written by Kaitlan Norman

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