Frida Kahlo died nearly 70 years ago, but her legend has only grown since then — largely due to her paintings, of course, but also because of her fascinating personal life. Her tumultuous youth, her marriage to Diego Rivera, her tryst with Trotsky — all have been well documented (and dramatized) in appropriately vivid colors. Last month, though, the Frida saga added a new chapter, courtesy of a man named Pablo Ortiz Monasterio.
Monasterio is a Mexican photographer and curator. He’s also the man behind a new exhibit called “Frida Kahlo: Her Photos,” which opened in March. On display at the Artisphere in Arlington, Va., the exhibit gives visitors a glimpse into Kahlo’s personal collection of more than 6,500 photographs, all of which had been previously stored at her childhood home in Mexico (now known as the Blue House). Rivera requested that the cache remain private following his wife’s death, but it was finally unsealed in 2007. That’s where Monasterio dove in.
After poring through her collection, Monasterio ultimately whittled down his selection to a trim 240 photos. A few were taken by Kahlo herself, others were taken by some of the preeminent photographers of her time, including Edward Weston, Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Tina Modotti. For the most part, though, the exhibit offers an intimate look at some of the items, people, and memories that Kahlo held dear. Many are annotated, some are signed by others. A select few, meanwhile, are sealed with a lipstick-laced kiss.
“Frida Kahlo: Her Photos” closes on March 25th. For high-res images of the collection, head over to The Washington Post.