Four years after the death of the world’s most famous Latin artist, Frida Kahlo, her home, Casa Azul, was transformed into a museum using a trust created by her long-time love and fellow artist Diego Rivera.
For many years, Rivera’s friend, Dolores Olmedo, presided over the Frida Kahlo museum, and when Rivera asked that she not open certain spaces in Casa Azul for 15 years, she would abide. After Olmedo’s death in 2004, the Board of the Trust decided to open up those closed spaces.
Mere months prior to the centennial celebration of Frida’s birth in 2007, the spaces were opened and more than 28,000 new documents, 5,800 photos, works, drawings, engravings, pieces of printed matter, and personal items, including almost 300 garments from Frida’s wardrobe were discovered.
Though many remember the bright, layered dresses and skirts worn by Kahlo, they often forget those garments hid a pained woman’s battered body.
As a result of childhood polio, Kahlo’s legs were already thin and weak, so when she was 19 and was involved in a horrific accident between the bus on which she was traveling and a trolley, her right leg was shattered. Kahlo also suffered a broken pelvis and spine and would come to rely on leather corsets and painted casts to keep her torso upright. She would never be able to have children. In 1953, just one year before her death, as a result of gangrene, Kahlo’s leg was amputated and she wore a prosthetic. All of this was hidden by the many layers of her clothing.
Those garments are now on display through November 2013 at Casa Azul in Mexico City thanks to the Museum of Frida Kahlo and Vogue magazine. The exhibit also includes garments inspired by Kahlo, but created by famed designers like Jean Paul Gaulthier and Riccardo Tisci.