La Casa Azul was purchased in 1904 by Frida's father in the Colonia del Carmen barrio of Coyoacán. Magdalena Carmen Freida Kahlo was born at home three years later to Matilde Calderón y González, a deeply religious mestiza from Mexico and Guillermo Kahlo, (born Carl Kahlo) a Photographer and German immigrant.
Matilde raised Frida and her three sisters with very strict religious values. For this reason, Frida bonded most with her Father: over photography, their love for art, a shared adventurous spirit, and their mutual interest in activism. Although Frida revered her indigenous roots, it was her Father, a German immigrant, that influenced her most. After his death, the portrait she painted of him was signed:
"I painted my father Wilhelm Kahlo, of Hungarian-German origin, artist-photographer by profession, in character generous, intelligent and fine, valiant because he suffered for sixty years with epilepsy, but never gave up working and fought against Hitler, with adoration, His daughter, Frida Kahlo."
Behind these iconic cobalt blue walls, Frida spent most of her life. Here, she painted and explored her own realities through self-portrait. She fearlessly and vividly addressed feminism, reproductive and sexual freedom, illness, disability and death. Although it was difficult to really take in the details of her home since the space was crowded (25,000 visitors monthly!) it was still thrilling to see how Frida once lived.
When I toured the museum in late November of last year, I was still able to catch the ofrenda from Día de Los Muertos in the courtyard. Having grown up with this holiday in Las Cruces, New Mexico, it was fascinating to see the way an ofrenda is done at la casa de Frida in the heart of CDMX:
After Frida's passing in 1954, her partner Diego Rivera had her clothing and adornments sequestered. He asked that her items be released fifteen years after his own passing. Three years later, Diego passed and La Casa Azul became a museum and art gallery about Frida's but her wardrobe wasn't released until 2004. Click through the gallery below to see more ...
La Casa Azul is a powerful reflection of the revolutionary culture happening in Mexico at the time. Frida revered her pre-Columbian roots, decorating her home and studio with Mexican folk art, objects that represented the lives of the indigenous, the working class and the poor. She adorned herself with traditional matriarchal Tehuantepec clothing and indigenous jewelry. Frida's possessions and creations echoed her pride to be Mexican while fearlessly being whatever kind of Mexican she wanted to be.
Imagery © Kim Marie 2018