Skip navigation

1907- On July 6, Frida Kahlo is born Magdalena Carmen Frieda(she later drops the e) Kahlo y Calderón  in her parents’ house, known as La Casa Azul (The Blue House), in Coyoacán, a suburb of Mexico City. Her father, Guillermo, was a photographer who had been born in Germany; her mother, Matilda, was Spanish and Native American.

1910- Mexican Revolution breaks out

1913- Kahlo is stricken with polio at age 6, which leaves her with a limp.

1922- At age 15 Kahlo enters Mexico’s prestigious National Preparatory School, the most prestigious educational institution in Mexico, which had only just begun to admit girls. She was one of only thirty-five girls out of two thousand students.. She intends to be a doctor; Watches Diego Rivera paint mural there. A member of the Cachuchas, leader is boyfriend Alejandro Gomes Aries . There she also begins to become active in leftist politics.

Frida at age 15

1925- Kahlo is involved in a severe accident of a bus collision with a tram September 17th, she is 18. Frida was very severely injured. A metal rod had made a very deep abdominal wound, her third and fourth lumbar vertebrae were fractured, she sustains serious injuries to her right leg and her uterus was pierced. Frida ended up trapped in a body cast for months. The accident left her in a great deal of pain. Because of these injuries, she undergoes more than 30 operations during her lifetime.

Frida Khalo at age 18

1926- While recovering from the accident, Kahlo begins to paint. She took up painting to occupy her time during her temporary state of immobilization. About 150 of Kahlo’s works have survived, and most of them are self-portraits. Of her work, she says, “I paint myself because I am so often alone, because I am the subject I know. First self-portrait, “Self-portrait In A Velvet Dress” 

Self-portrait In A Velvet Dress (First self-portrait)

1928- Through photographer and revolutionary Tina Modotti, meets Diego again; (she is 21) Kahlo asked him for his advice on pursuing art as a career. He immediately recognized her talent and her unique expression as truly special and uniquely Mexican. He encouraged her development as an artist, and began an intimate relationship with her.


1929- Kahlo marries famous Mexican muralist painter Diego Rivera, she is 22, he is 42; she is 100 pounds, he 300 Become pregnant and has first abortion (fetus incorrectly positioned) 

Frida and Diego on Wedding Day 1929

1930 — Kahlo and Diego leave Mexico for San Francisco for work; she meets Dr. Eloesser, who becomes her lifelong friend and medical advisor.


1931- The Rivera’s travel NYC, Diego has exhibit at MOMA Paints “Frida and Diego Rivera”

1932- The couple relocates to Detroit, and Rivera was commissioned to paint a major series of murals for the Detroit Museum. Kahlo suffers a miscarriage. Frida began work on a series of masterpieces which had no precedent in the history of art – paintings which exalted the feminine quality of truth, reality, cruelty and suffering. Never before had a woman put such agonized poetry on canvas as Frida did at this time in Detroit. While recovering she paints “Henry Ford Hospital“, “Self-Portrait Between the Borderline Between Mexico and the United States” and “My Birth”. Frida’s mother Matilda Kahlo dies.

Frida 1932

Frida and Diego 1932

Henry Ford Hospital

Self-Portrait Between the Borderline Between Mexico and the United States

 My Birth

1933- Travel to NYC. Diego had been commissioned to paint a mural in the Rockefeller Center. The commission erupted into an enormous scandal, when the patron ordered the half-completed work destroyed because of the political imagery Diego insisted on including. Diego refuses to paint out Lenin, they destroy the mural. Diego does mural for New Worker’s School End of year return, they return to Mexico, to new house in San Angel Paints “My Dress Hangs There”. Kahlo and Rivera return to Mexico.

My Dress Hangs There


1934- Frida undergoes an appendectomy, abortion (third pregnancy), foot surgery remove 3 toes. During the summer, they separate, as Diego has affair with Kahlo’s younger sister, Christina. Frida gets own apt in Mexico City. The couple both engage in extramarital affairs. Kahlo with both men and women.


1935- Frida returns to San Angel and reconciles with Diego. Paints “A few Small Nips”. Frida has affair with Isamu Noguchi. 

1936- Spanish Civil War breaks out, the Rivera’s raise money for Mexicans fighting against Franco Paints “My Grandparents, My Parents and I”

1937- Russian revolutionary leader Leon Trotsky and his wife arrives in Mexico and live in the Casa Azul until 1939. Frida has affair with Trotsky. Frida begins to paint some of her best work. Has work shown at the Galleria de Arte, University of Mexico Paints “My Nurse and I,” “Memory”, “Portrait of Diego Rivera.“, Self-Portrait (Dedicated to Leon Trotsky)”. Kahlo also befriended Pablo Picasso, writer Andre Breton and the Rockefeller family during her lifetime.

My Nurse and I


Portrait of Diego Rivera

Self-Portrait (Dedicated to Leon Trotsky)

1938- Andre Breton and wife visit Mexico to meet Trotsky He sees “What the Water Gave Me” and says Frida is a surrealist October. Frida goes to NYC for one-person show at New York’s Julian Levy Gallery. Show is success and she sells some paintings She meets photographer Nicholas Murray. Paints “What the Water Gave Me,” “The Frame,” “Itczuintli Dog with Me,” “Self-Portrait with Monkey,” “Four Inhabitants of Mexico

What the Water Gave Me



The Frame

Itczuintli Dog with Me

Self-Portrait with Monkey

Four Inhabitants of Mexico

1939- Travels to Paris, as Breton promises her a show, the show falls through She stays with the Breton’s and others, is hospitalized with kidney infection Marcel Duchamp arranges Frida’s entry into a Mexican art exhibit, she took 18 paintings but only two were shown, the others were too “shocking” One of the two, “The Frame,” was purchased by the Louvre Sails back to NYC, breaks off with Murray Returns to Mexico and lives at the Blue House That summer she and Diego separate and divorce in December. Paints “The Two Fridas” one of the two large-scale pieces that Frida painted (68″ x 68″)

Frida and Diego 1940

1940- Frida’s reputation soars, paintings shown in San Francisco and NYC. Trotsky is assassinated. Meets Dr. Eloesser again, prescribes bed rest and persuades Diego and Frida to reconcile. Kahlo and Rivera remarrie. Kahlo Paints “The Wounded Table” (now lost), “Dream, The Bed,” “Se”Self- Portrait With Cropped Hair,” “Self-Portrait With Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird,” “Self- Portrait with Monkey”, and various other self portraits including “Self-Portrait Dedicated to Dr. Eloesser”

Dream, The Bed

Self- Portrait With Cropped Hair

Self-Portrait With Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird

1941- Frida’s father Guillermo Kahlo has heart attack and dies. Frida and Diego return to live in blue house in Coyoacan. Diego uses house in San Angel as his studio. Frida’s paintings are shown in Mexico City, NYC, Boston and Philadelphia. Her physical health declines and although ill, she continues to paint (“Me and My Parrots,” “Self-Portrait with Braid”, “Self-Portrait with Bonito”) 





Me and My Parrots


Self-Portrait with Bonito

Self-Portrait with Braid

1942- Paints “Self-Portrait with Monkeys”, and “Thinking about Death”

Thinking about Death


Self-Portrait with Monkeys

1943- Frida’s work is included in NYC exhibit “Exhibition by 31 Women”. She begans teaching at the Education Ministry School of Painting, Mexico City; health prevent her from traveling to Mexico City, so students come to the Blue House. In the end only four come and they are called “Los Fridos” Numerous operations force her to leave teaching, and she resumes her prolific painting career.


Frida Khalo with “Los Fridos”  1943

1944- Poor health continues Over the next few years, she undergoes spinal taps, confinement in a series of corsets and several radical operations on back and leg that did more harm than good.. Depressed, Frida begins keeping a diary Commission at the Hotel Posada del Sol mural by her and her students, owner dislikes and destroys it Paints “The Broken Column” and “Portrait of Dona Rosita Morillo,” “The Flower of Life” has exhibits in NYC and Mexico City painting career. Paints “Self-Portrait as a Tehuana” (or, “Diego In My Thoughts”), “The Bride Frightened At Seeing Life Opened”. 

 The Broken Column

Portrait of Dona Rosita Morillo

The Flower of Life

Self-Portrait as a Tehuana or Diego In My Thoughts

The Bride Frightened At Seeing Life Opened


1945- After reading Freud’s Moses and Monotheism, Frida paints “Moses” Also paints “The Mask,” “Magnolias,” “Without Hope” 


The Mask


Without Hope

1946- Awarded the National Prize of Arts and Sciences Ministry of Public Ed, for painting “Moses”. Goes to NYC for bone-graft operation, large does of morphine prescribed for pain. Paints “Tree of Hope,” “The Wounded Deer” 

Tree of Hope

The Wounded Deer

1948- Diego begins two year public affair with actress Maria Felix 


1949- Gangrene apparent on right foot Paints “Diego and I”

Diego and I

1950- Kahlo’s physical condition worsens, and she is hospitalized in Mexico City for one year. During course of the year, has six operations on her spine, due in part to the severe infection of her bone graphs. Diego sleeps in room next to hers. Kahlo paints when well enough to do so. 


1951- Discharge from hospital, in wheelchair, full time nurses. Paints “Portrait of My Father,” “Still Life With Parrot”

Portrait of My Father

Still Life With Parrot (Frida’s last work)

1952- Begins still life paintings, 13 over next two years Frida projects her pain onto wounded fruits Consumes large amounts of pain killers and alcohol that affected her ability to paint.

1953- Kahlo has her first solo exhibition in Mexico; it’s the only exhibition held in her native country during her lifetime. Doctor said Kahlo was  too ill to attend, but she sent her richly decorated fourposter bed ahead of her, arrived by ambulance, and was carried into the gallery on a stretcher. The private view was a triumphal occasion. Later that year, her right leg is amputated below the knee because of gangrene. Physical and emotional conditions worsen.

Khalo at first solo exhibition in Mexico

[This photo shows Kahlo in her last public act, July 2nd, 1954 – demonstrating against the CIA organized military coup that overthrew the elected government of Guatemala. Against her doctor’s advice, Frida went to the protest in a wheel chair while convalescing from pneumonia. She held a placard depicting a dove carrying the message, Por la Paz (For the Peace.) Diego Rivera can be seen behind her with his hand on her shoulder. Less than two weeks after the protest, Frida Kahlo passed away. ]



1954- April Kahlo gets pneumonia. July 2 she and Diego take part in a demonstration against North American intervention in Guatemala, her last public appearance. Pneumonia worsens. Paints last painting, “Viva la Vida,” inscribing these words on the watermelon just 8 days before she died. Frida dies on July 13th , reported as pulmonary embolism, but suicide is suspected. Her last diary entry read: ‘I hope the end is joyful – and I hope never to come back – Frida.'”

Viva la Vida (Frida’s last work)


1955– Diego becomes ill with cancer and he marries his art dealer Emma Hurtado. He gives the Blue House to the Mexican government to become a museum named Casa Azul Museum. 


1957- Diego dies of heart failure


Since her death, Kahlo’s fame as an artist has only grown. Her beloved Blue House was opened as a museum in 1958. The feminist movement of the 1970s led to renewed interest in her life and work, as Kahlo was viewed by many as an icon of female creativity. In 1983, Hayden Herrera’s book on the artist, A Biography of Frida Kahlo, also helped to stir up interest this great artist. More recently, her life was the subject of a 2002 film entitled Frida, starring Salma Hayek as the artist and Alfred Molina as Diego Rivera. Directed by Julie Taymor, the film was nominated for six Academy Awards and won for Best Makeup and Original Score.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: