MUSEO FRIDA KAHLO

COLLECTIONS

“The house, painted blue inside and out, seems to shelter a bit of sky.”
The poet Carlos Pellicer regarding the Blue House

Diego studied the Badiano Codex in order to be able to paint pre-Hispanic plants in his murals. Frida, meanwhile, constantly consulted books on botany. Hence the garden of the Blue House was decorated with a wide variety of cacti (maguey, nopal, old man cactus, barrel cactus, yucca) among which Rivera placed different pre-Hispanic pieces from his collection.

As the years have passed, the garden has become a cool and shady spot under grand trees such as privets, beeches, jacarandas, a palm tree, and a mimosa tenuiflora, among others. The canopy today scarcely resembles the sunny lot with sparse vegetation that Diego originally purchased. However, it does recall the flora there at the time the house was inhabited by Rivera and Kahlo as a married couple.

Diego studied the Badiano Codex in order to be able to paint pre-Hispanic plants in his murals. Frida, meanwhile, constantly consulted books on botany. Hence the garden of the Blue House was decorated with a wide variety of cacti (maguey, nopal, old man cactus, barrel cactus, yucca) among which Rivera placed different pre-Hispanic pieces from his collection.

As the years have passed, the garden has become a cool and shady spot under grand trees such as privets, beeches, jacarandas, a palm tree, and a mimosa tenuiflora, among others. The canopy today scarcely resembles the sunny lot with sparse vegetation that Diego originally purchased. However, it does recall the flora there at the time the house was inhabited by Rivera and Kahlo as a married couple.

In the late 1930s, when Russian politician Leon Trotsky arrived in Mexico, Frida and Diego expanded the garden of their home in order to grant him asylum and guarantee his safety. In the middle of the area, Rivera had a pyramid built with a three-part stairway. In the bottom section, skulls carved out of basalt were embedded and archaeological pieces placed for display. A tall, thatched roof or palapa of the kind used by pre-Hispanic cultures covered this part of the pyramid, as well as the archaeological pieces found on it. In the garden area, a small room was also constructed. On its front wall, stones were embedded bearing the effigy of Tlaloc, the rain god, and on two corners, the heads of serpents. The pool underscores the allusion to the symbols of water and fertility.

In the late 1930s, when Russian politician Leon Trotsky arrived in Mexico, Frida and Diego expanded the garden of their home in order to grant him asylum and guarantee his safety. In the middle of the area, Rivera had a pyramid built with a three-part stairway. In the bottom section, skulls carved out of basalt were embedded and archaeological pieces placed for display. A tall, thatched roof or palapa of the kind used by pre-Hispanic cultures covered this part of the pyramid, as well as the archaeological pieces found on it. In the garden area, a small room was also constructed. On its front wall, stones were embedded bearing the effigy of Tlaloc, the rain god, and on two corners, the heads of serpents. The pool underscores the allusion to the symbols of water and fertility.

Once they had settled into the Blue House of Coyoacán, Frida and Diego collected and made use of folk art items. The dining room has been conserved just as Frida and Diego decorated it. The wooden sideboards and floor painted in Congo yellow illuminate the space. Hanging in the corners are the Judas figures of papier-mâché elaborated by folk artist Carmen Caballero.

Once they had settled into the Blue House of Coyoacán, Frida and Diego collected and made use of folk art items. The dining room has been conserved just as Frida and Diego decorated it. The wooden sideboards and floor painted in Congo yellow illuminate the space. Hanging in the corners are the Judas figures of papier-mâché elaborated by folk artist Carmen Caballero.

This room preserves the style of old-fashioned, traditional Mexican kitchens. Although by the time Diego and Frida lived here gas stoves were already in use, they preferred to cook with firewood, the customary way. In this kitchen, traditional pre-Hispanic, colonial, and popular dishes were prepared, including some that Lupe Marín -Diego's first wife- taught Frida how to make.

This room preserves the style of old-fashioned, traditional Mexican kitchens. Although by the time Diego and Frida lived here gas stoves were already in use, they preferred to cook with firewood, the customary way. In this kitchen, traditional pre-Hispanic, colonial, and popular dishes were prepared, including some that Lupe Marín -Diego's first wife- taught Frida how to make.

In this part of the home –designed by Juan O’Gorman in 1944- Frida's work materials are preserved: paintbrushes, an easel, the mirror the painter used for her self-portraits, and her books of history, literature, art, and philosophy –many of them intervened with her poetry and drawings– proving her to have been an artist of great intellectual curiosity. At the same time, the adoration Diego and Frida shared for pre-Columbian cultures is reflected in the pre-Hispanic works that adorned the space. Likewise, jars of varnish and perfume used by the artist as recipients for her paints may be seen here.

In this part of the home –designed by Juan O’Gorman in 1944- Frida's work materials are preserved: paintbrushes, an easel, the mirror the painter used for her self-portraits, and her books of history, literature, art, and philosophy –many of them intervened with her poetry and drawings– proving her to have been an artist of great intellectual curiosity. At the same time, the adoration Diego and Frida shared for pre-Columbian cultures is reflected in the pre-Hispanic works that adorned the space. Likewise, jars of varnish and perfume used by the artist as recipients for her paints may be seen here.

In the day bedroom Frida used is found the mirror her mother had strung under the canopy of her bed after her accident, and a photograph of the artist at work. On the bed rests her death mask, completed by the sculptor Ignacio Asúnsolo, and at the head hangs an oil painting from the 19th century –the portrait of a dead child– that inspired Frida to compose her work The Deceased Dimas Rosas.

In the day bedroom Frida used is found the mirror her mother had strung under the canopy of her bed after her accident, and a photograph of the artist at work. On the bed rests her death mask, completed by the sculptor Ignacio Asúnsolo, and at the head hangs an oil painting from the 19th century –the portrait of a dead child– that inspired Frida to compose her work The Deceased Dimas Rosas.

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THE GARDEN
Photography: Miguel Tovar
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