Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Works That Travel The World

Grace Piney

Discover the works of Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera that are currently being exhibited in prestigious museums around the world.

Works of art by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, two giants of Mexican painting in the last century, have their works on display at prestigious museums that want to pay homage to these authors. As a result, a collection of their paintings was sent to the city of Moscow, to be exhibited at the Manezh Exhibition Center, next to the Alexander Garden and the Kremlin walls. After the exhibition finished, “Viva la Vida,” was moved to the Fabergé Museum in Saint Petersburg, where it was on display between April and May 2019. Since then the works of Diego and Frida continue to be displayed around the world. The life and work of Frida Kahlo (Mexico, 1907-1954) was so marked by tragedy that it is impossible to think about her and not acknowledge how the misery and conditions of her life made a mark in her art. Her pain was the main source of her artistic expression. Although her work is highly valued in the art market, part of the public rejects her paintings due to the mixture of grotesque and surreal figures that appear in them. However, despite this, her paintings always achieve the same goal, which is making people think outside of the box. 
FRIDA KAHLO. Henry Ford Hospital, 1932

Diego Rivera (Mexico, 1886-1957) studied painting in Mexico and Paris. The influence of his academic studies and the one he received from his travels through Europe, is very evident. The mark of his work is abstraction, however Rivera’s work is also very figurative. During his trips to the United States in the 1930s, the Mexican artist painted large murals in places such as the California School of Fine Arts, The American Stock Exchange, the Luncheon Club and the Detroit Institute of Arts. As an anecdote, it should be noted that he made a mural for the Rockefeller Center in New York, but it was destroyed before it was made public.

Diego Rivera had already painted more than 200 murals and was a master of art when he met Frida, and although the style of his works is very different, it is clear that he exerted a great artistic influence on her. They were married for 25 years, with intervals of separation, divorce and infidelity on both sides, including his with Frida’s sister and that of the artist with Leon Trotsky, the leader of Russian communism.

DIEGO RIVERA. Sunflowers, 1943

Kahlo and Rivera are one of the couples in the art in which passion was associated with the sickly. According to Elliott King, curator of one of the shows that was in Atlanta, the objective of the exhibitions is “to unite the two artists, talk about the context they shared, the influences that united them as a couple, their love for Mexico, the politics in which they agreed and their commitment to the Marxist revolution.”

FRIDA KAHLO. The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Land (Mexico), Diego, I, and Señor Xólotl, 1949

Among the works exhibited is one of the most important that Rivera gave to the USSR, Gloriosa Victoria (1954), a monumental painting almost three meters high and five meters long belonging to the funds of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. “One of the gems of this work is that behind there is an unfinished work, which has no name. It is also dedicated to Rivera’s political views on capitalism, oppression,” said Katarina Lopátkina, curator of this exhibition called Viva la Vida in Moscow.

“Diego (Rivera) was always a follower of the USSR and the Soviet people. But in the 1930s he approaches Trotsky and then confidence is lost. That confidence was recovered at the end of the fifties, when works were sent as a gift to the USSR by the main Mexican artists. But they never showed themselves in public,” Lopátkina explained to the newspaper La Vanguardia.

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