Mirror, Mirror… Photographs of Frida Kahlo

There are four great reasons to go to Mirror, Mirror… Photographs of Frida Kahlo, the new exhibition of photographs of the iconic Mexican artist at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in Santa Fe

  1. You’re a fan of Frida Kahlo’s life and work
  2. You’re a fan of Diego Rivera’s life and work
  3. You love vintage black and white photographs
  4. You don’t fit into the three above niches but want to broaden your horizons.
Firda Kahlo - Have your photo taken with Frida; Billie did and tried to mimic her expression, photo Steve Collins

Have your photo taken with Frida; Billie did and tried to mimic her expression, photo/Steve Collins

The show, a curated collection of over 50 photos of Frida Kahlo by various photographers, both known and unknown that were amassed by New York gallerist and former Santa Fean, Spencer Throckmorton, is well-worth the price of admission. Throckmorton began his Frida Kahlo photo collection in the late 1970s when he purchased a few photos from Kahlo’s niece and it grew from there. Some of his photos are extremely rare prints.

Frida Kahlo - Spencer Throckmorton, Kraige Block and Penelope Hunter-Stiebel at the exhibition, photo Steve Collins

Spencer Throckmorton, Kraige Block and Penelope Hunter-Stiebel at the exhibition, photo/Steve Collins

The photographs, arranged by curator Penelope Hunter-Stiebel in sections that reflect aspects the artist’s life and work, are both visually stunning and emotionally moving. They tell snippets of the story of Frida Kahlo’s life, personally and artistically including her tempestuous, on-again-off-again relationship with her husband, muralist Diego Rivera. Kahlo, who had polio as a child, was severally injured in a 1925 bus accident. She never fully recovered and was in great pain for the rest of her life. She died at age 47. The photos in the room devoted to her struggle with her physical issues and chronic pain, including her leg amputation shortly before her death, pack an emotional wallop.

Hector Garcia, 1954, “Frida Kahlo Casket Leaving Bellas Artes,” courtesy Throckmorton Fine Art

Hector Garcia, 1954, “Frida Kahlo Casket Leaving Bellas Artes,” photo/courtesy Throckmorton Fine Art

In almost every photo, Frida Kahlo appears aloof and austere, even haughty. When asked about this seemingly removed woman, Hunter-Stiebel said that in reality Frida was outgoing with a ribald sense of humor and a mouth to match. She was often embarrassing in public. Rivera’s persona also translate in photos. Just looking at the couple you wonder why this petite, beautiful woman married this pot-bellied, schleppy-looking, cigar-smoking man 21 years her senior. According to Throckmorton, the muralist was extremely charismatic. Sometimes words speak louder than photos.

“Frida Painting the Two Fridas,” photo courtesy Throckmorton Fine Art

Nickolas Muray, 1939, “Frida Painting the Two Fridas,” photo/courtesy Throckmorton Fine Art

While most of the photos of Frida Kahlo are black and white, a few are in color. One room, devoted to photos of Casa Azul, the Kahlo family home in the Coyoacán section of Mexico City, taken by Santa Fe photographer William Frej, add a touch of vibrant color. The last room, devoted to Kahlo-inspired  often whimsical pieces, created by Spanish Market artists especially for this, also adds color to the exhibition.

Frida Kahlo - Arthur Lopez, “Diego on my Mind”, photo Steve Collins

Arthur Lopez, “Diego on my Mind”, photo/Steve Collins

The show, which runs through October 29th is a must-see. I want to go back again. The photos are compelling.

 

 

Save

Save

2 Responses to “Mirror, Mirror… Photographs of Frida Kahlo”

  1. Dr. Romñan Sánchez Fernández
    May 11, 2017 at 3:35 am #

    Beautiful colección in Frida Kahlo

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge