arts • 08 Sep, 2017
Frida Kahlo Through The Lens Of Her Friend And Lover
Nickolas Muray’s Images Of The Artist Helped Create An Icon
That Frida Kahlo is one of the world’s most recognisable artists over 60 years since her death owes a lot to her carefully created self-image. She was cultivating social-media-ready pictures way before the invention of Instagram by wearing ‘intricately embroidered blouses and froth of skirts, the chunky necklaces, the lace, the ribbons,’ that showed her striking individuality and a connection to Mexican indigenous people.
In July this year, in Dallas, there was even an attempt to break the record for the most people dressed as Frida. All participants needed was a floral-printed dress, a shawl, artificial flowers in their hair and, naturally, that unibrow her husband Diego Rivera said was like the “wings of a blackbird”.
However, we’re only familiar with her appearance today, because of the work of one photographer. Nickolas Muray, Kahlo’s friend and sometime lover (both Frida and her husband had multiple affairs), took a series of stunning portraits of the artist over a number of years. Many have become easily recognisable, reprinted and reproduced on Kahlo memorabilia that have accompanied the many exhibitions of her work.
A new show of Muray’s photographs, titled Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray, has just closed on 3rd September, at the Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach California, but in case you missed it, we’re sharing our favorite images here.
Words by David Kaye