Project Description

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

Frida Kahlo first met Diego Rivera when she was a 22-year-old art student. He was 20 years her senior, and already a giant in the world of Mexican art, known for his epic murals. Kahlo soon began a relationship with Rivera, despite him being known as a womanizer. Although Rivera was married, the two passionate artists ensued their courtship, which ended in a wedding in 1929 much to the disapproval of Frida’s parents. Most of the people referred to the couple as “the elephant and the dove” because of their physical differences – his girth dwarfing her petite frame. With their eruptive tempers and numerous infidelities, their marriage was known to be anything but peaceful and calm. Frida was said to have been intimately involved with, among others, Marxist theorist Leon Trotsky, dancer Josephine Baker, and photographer Nickolas Muray. It is said that Rivera once asked his doctor for a note that would say it was physically impossible for him to be faithful. In one of the letters exchanged between Frida and Dr. Eloesser (a friend of hers), the doctor wrote: “Diego loves you very much, and you love him. It is also the case, and you know it better than I, that besides you, he has two great loves: one, painting, and two, women in general. He has never been, nor ever will be, monogamous.” Frida and Diego had their own impressions on how to make the other happy. For Frida, it meant staying with him and accepting who he really was. For Diego, it meant staying away from her because he discerned the agony he inflicted on her. Diego and Frida decided to get divorced in 1939 because of their mutual infidelities. The two remained friends but couldn’t keep away from each other romantically. They remarried only a year later on Rivera’s 54 birthday – their second marriage was even more tempestuous than the first one, however, they knew that nobody else could match their artistic and intellectual connection. Diego and Frida stayed married until Frida’s death in 1954.