Frida Kahlo: Five Works at the Dallas Museum of Art offers a rare chance to explore a selection of works by acclaimed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Kahlo (1907–1954) was one of Mexico’s greatest artists. During her career, the painter developed a very particular means of expressing Mexican traditions and her experience as a woman of the time.
This installation features four paintings and a drawing on loan from a private collection, each acting as a vehicle for understanding larger aspects of Kahlo’s artistic practice, including her working methods and unique visual language. These works invite us to look closely, exploring their layered meanings and pondering their connections to Kahlo’s adventurous life.
Preview the exhibit here or in the below interactive graphic.
BEHIND THE SCENES
In preparation for their display on February 28, 2021, Frida’s paintings were studied in the museum’s conservation studio. Infrared photography allows conservators to look through surface-level paint to the underlying preparatory layers. X-radiography, on the other hand, enables us to visualize compositional changes made in paint. This combination of imaging provided a fascinating new perspective into Frida Kahlo’s working methods.
Diego and Frida
Infrared photography revealed a small inscription on one of the shells attached to the frame on Diego and Frida. This inscription reads “Recuerdo de Veracruz” and was subsequently covered by red paint, probably by Kahlo herself. Frames like this one would have likely been found in the tourist market of Veracruz; here, it is a special hidden detail that gives us an intimate glimpse into the past life of the object.
Still Life with Parrot and Flag 1
In Still Life with Parrot and Flag, an initial planning drawing done in both thin lines and wide ink strokes shows how Kahlo simplified compositional elements in the final painting, especially with regard to shifting the size and shape of the fruits.
Still Life with Parrot and Flag 2
The most labored part of the underdrawing shows several adjustments made to the parrot’s wing and beak, and changes made to the adjacent mango. The underdrawing observed in each painting made clear that Kahlo had a strong vision for the overall composition of each work, regardless of the subtle changes made in the painting process.
WHERE TO SEE THE ARTWORK
Beginning Tueday May 4, in addition to the FREE exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art, there are 3 pop up exhibitions locations where you can see two of Frida’s still lifes and celebrate her life as an artist.
The pop up museums can be found at:
Toyota Music Factory, in Irving
316 West Las Colinas Boulevard, Irving, TX 75039
Still life typically refers to a depiction of things. In France, still lifes are called “dead nature.” Kahlo broke from the traditional genre of still-life painting, painting what she called “live nature.” Toward the end of her life, Kahlo redirected her passion to capturing everyday existence. She also explored the potential of various types of fruits as symbols and combined them with national elements such as flags, pots, and animals.
Celebrate Kahlo’s life and art, and get inspired with a special coloring sheet. Printed versions of the coloring sheet are also available at most pop up museum locations.
Promoted content provided by the Dallas Museum of Art.