Frida Kahlo was born in 1910, during the Mexican Revolution. Her mother rushed her and her sisters inside the house as gunfire echoed in the streets; revolutionaries would leap over the walls into their backyard and her mother would feed them. After being involved in a bus accident, she was recovering in a body cast. She painted to pass the time; her mother had a special easel made so she could paint in bed. Frida painted many self portraits - when asked why she answered: "I paint self portraits because I am the person I know best." She married the famous Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. Kahlo's work was not widely recognized until decades after her death. Often she was popularly remembered only as Diego Rivera's wife. An exhibit in the summer of 2007 of her paintings honoring the 100th anniversary of Kahlo's birth at the Museum of the Fine Arts Palace, in Mexico City, and broke all attendance records at the museum.
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Diego Rivera was a Mexican painter and muralist born in Guanajuato City, Guanajuato. Studied painting in Mexico before going to Europe in 1907.
While in Europe he took up cubism and had exhibitions in Paris and Madrid in 1913; he then had a show in New York City in 1916. In 1921 he returned to Mexico, where he undertook government-sponsored murals that reflected his communist politics in historical contexts.
He married Frida Kahlo in 1929, and their tempestuous marriage got to be as famous as their art. In the 1930s and '40s Rivera worked in the United States and Mexico, and many of his paintings drew controversy. His 1933 mural for the RCA Building at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan featured a portrait of Communist Party leader Lenin, the resulting uproar led to his dismissal and to the mural's official destruction in 1934.
Similarly, a 1948 mural for the Hotel de Prado in Mexico that included the words "God does not exist" was covered and held from public view for nine years.
His personal life was as dramatic as his artwork. In 1929, he married Kahlo who was roughly 20 years younger. The two had a passionate, but stormy relationship, divorcing once in 1939 only to remarry later. She died in 1954. He then married Emma Hurtado, his art dealer. Rivera died of heart failure on November 24, 1957, in Mexico City, Mexico.
Rivera's talent for historical murals and his tributes to earthy folk traditions made him one of the most influential artists in the Americas and one of Mexico's most beloved painters
PBS American Masters: Diego Rivera
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