Art of Frida Kahlo and Henri Matisse
The twentieth century was a major turning point for artists as dozens of newly founded artistic styles were created and admired. Many of the movements contrasted traditional ways of painting, which were most active prior to the 1900s. However, as artistic movements shifted towards unconventional ways of painting artists diverged from the normal path of painting despite their capabilities of following traditional art to start the twentieth century with a wave of modernist paintings. Movements such as Fauvism, Expressionism, Surrealism, Cubism and many more arose that impacted society as well, making them interesting studies to compare. Particularly, comparing the differing cultures and stereotypes within twentieth century paintings is a pressing topic as they both greatly affect the way artists not only depict their subject matter, but how they see themselves as well. At this time, women’s rights were also beginning to be won over, leading to further feminist movements all through to the present day. Stereotypical representations of women were shed off by organizations and replaced with a more prominent, active woman in society. While the artistic movements may not have been an immediate response to this, they still depict the differences in the perspective of the older stereotypical representations with the newer, more independent depiction of women we see today.
While previous scholarship has been done where it investigates the woman’s perspective on both Matisse’s and Kahlo’s paintings, they have not been directly compared and contrasted through such a lens. As Matisse first emerged as a significant French painter, critics began calling him and his fellow artists “Fauves” or “wild beasts” in French. This is mainly due to the use of bold primary colors. Additionally, they sought to mimic the brushstrokes of Van Gogh. This can be clearly seen through his artworks, which will be shown later on. He was greatly inspired by Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism, where the main painters were Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet, and Georges Seurat. These artistic movements had characteristics such as being outdoors and having pure, soft colors. They were mainly of landscapes and nature without any bold colors or brushstrokes. Thus, once Fauvism came along, primary colors and people, specifically women, became much more prominent in paintings.
On the other hand, during the similar time period, Frida Kahlo, the daughter of a German photographer and a Mexican mother, was one of the leading surrealists back in the Americas. While Kahlo was opposed to having her works placed in a specific category, she used her personal life much more than Matisse did, as she had a significant amount more of personal issues occurring in her life. While it varied depending on the painting, Kahlo used duller colors than those of the Fauves. Her subject matter was similar, although expressed in an entirely different way than Matisse did.
Pain and Suffering in “The Broken Column” by Frida Kahlo
“The Broken Column”, a self-portrait, was created by Frida Kahlo in the year of 1944. This artwork was painted just after Kahlo had undergone a spinal operation. The surgery had left her unable to do much activity and bounded by a metal corset, which helped to lessen the severe and endless pain that she was in. In the painting she is portrayed standing up surrounded by a dry, broken landscape. A fractured column that looks as if it is close to collapsing has replaced her spine. This portrait demonstrates the motivation of the artist to demonstrate to the audiences the struggle she experienced during the period of time that her surgery took place. The main points being discussed are the colours in the painting and the shapes used to portray the pain and suffering she dealt with. Her inspiration is the pain that she endured during this time in her life.
Kahlo used different colours to communicate an idea of darkness. The colour palate was limited but included both warm and cool colours in her self-portrait. The colours include blue, brown, yellow, red and orange. The colours contained both shades and tints of the colours described. The sky is a blue which has high value on the left and low value on the right. The red tint colour of Kahlo attracts attention compared to the background of the picture, and the hair and ‘broken’ column have a very strong dark colour. Frida has also painted herself with shadows around her eyes, the breasts and blanket. There is added amounts of black (tint), so the shade is dulled. The cracks in the ground (behind her) are a green and yellow combination with very low levels of intensity. The blanket and straps are white where the straps have a highest value and intensity than the blanket. Her hair similarly has some shadows where the black is in its highest value and there is a perception of light. The colours used create another perspective. The cold colours of blue, brownish and yellow make the background appear far away. The colours of the woman, which are reddish, orange, and make the woman look closer. The shadows around her eyes may communicate the idea that she is very tired, possibly exhausted, from the events of her life, such as her accident. The shades and tints create lower intensity and value throughout the whole art piece. Using a limited palate to communicate the feeling behind the image, allowed the audience to understand the pain and suffering behind her paintbrush.
The shapes used in “The Broken Column” are mostly organic and associated with the natural world, with the human form being three dimensional and centred in the painting to draw your attention to the shape of the woman. A rectangular shape around the top can be observed, the sky, which is a negative space. Other negative shapes are the two triangles of earth that go on both sides of the picture. The organic shape of the woman is in the centre and it is a positive space. Details in the nails may imply sharp and metallic textures.
Frida is three-dimensional (3D) and also includes other shapes such as the shape of her head, eyes, mouth and nose. The shapes are very distinct, hard-edged, and concrete (especially the hard Earth behind her). Only her blanket, hair, and breasts portray softness.
Placing the image of herself in the centre of the painting is common in paintings where the desire is to draw the eye to the 3D shape. The shapes in this painting are based on forms of nature. The shape of Frida Kahlo is the dominant one in the art piece which demonstrates that she is the main focus and the onlooker/s all bring their attention to her. Shapes suggest that Frida is lonely, vulnerable, exposed and in pain, but also that she is strong. The column may suggest that even after surgery and with the pole inside her that may hold her up, she is stronger. This can be implied because Frida looks to be holding herself up pretty well, disregarding the nails etc., whereas, the column is broken and sharp-edged. Using organic shapes, particularly the human form placed in the centre of the painting demonstrate that she is the main focus of this painting. It highlights the suffering that she went through.
Kahlo, in her piece, The Broken Column communicates with intent by using colours and shapes to convey the darkness she experienced. This darkness is the pain and suffering she endured and she has used organic shapes to show the human form suffering. The painful image is highlighted with a limited palate of colours but are realistic when showing herself crying and ensuring understanding of the audience with the use of a column to reflect her broken spine.
Frida Kahlo – an Artist of the Early 1900s
Certain landscapes can touch the individual, affecting them not only on a physical, but personal and emotional level. Often when painting, artists exploit powerful stories of landscapes in a subjective manner, either purposely or accidentally manipulating audience impressions. Frida Kahlo, an artist of the early 1900s, consistently exerted her influence by transcending her personal pain and emotional suffering through cultured symbols. Kahlo’s Mexican ancestry had a strong influence on how and why she painted. Her use of signs, symbols and codes to represent her heritage were used as visual language to exploit her mutilation and trauma.
Kahlo’s autobiographical piece, Self Portrait with Monkey, represents the indelible emotional bonds that her native country tied to her. The dense symbolic Mexican imagery; monkeys, braided hair and indigenous costumes, indicated the influence that her country had throughout her profound experiences. Kahlo used a variety of complex imagery, ranging from indigenous sources such as European-derived colonial precedents, as well as Aztec and Christian symbolism. She included this imagery in a desire to revalue metaphors and create new and different perceptions. Kahlo was mesmerized by the importance that monkeys played in Aztec’s world. They were represented as gods of fertility; a topic that highly intrigued Kahlo. The monkeys were a perfect symbol of transgressive sexuality and fertility. They were known for their audacious lasciviousness.
Kahlo’s painting style was careful and controlled, with each insignificant stroke creating a stark contrast to the subversive and violent motifs. Kahlo’s physical suffering; the horrific traffic accident, extensive injuries, several miscarriages and amputation, encouraged her depression and emotional turmoil. Kahlo explored the depths of her personal stress by painting images she knew best. Her cultural metaphors and symbols allowed the audience to understand her and her countries social values.
Critics later would baffle Frida as a surrealist, but she constantly denied to be part of that movement, “I thought I was a surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams, I painted my own reality.”. Kahlo did not simply rely on her physical damage for subject matter, but the emotional construction of herself. Her paintings were of her own psychic state of mind. Their flamboyancy was so personal and self-referential that it helped women with prejudice overcome adversity, feeling the need to paint their own lives.
Through Kahlo’s physical damage, she learnt and understood herself on a deeper level; spiritually, emotionally and mentally. Her Mexican heritage helped Kahlo open up, and the Mexican landscape became integral to her emotional journey documented on her canvases. Kahlo’s physicality in the landscape is fundamental to her emotional experience. An individual’s emotional damage can be a symptom of the significance that the landscape presents.
A Hispanic Art Report: Joe Villarreal, Clara Aguero and Frida Kahlo
Art is something that people of all ages over the world can appreciate. Art doesnt expect you to speak the same language; its just there for you to admire it.
Today I would like to introduce six Hispanic Artists who have touched the lives of Americans. Some were visitors to the United States, others were native born with strong Hispanic family backgrounds. See how a world of creativity and passion influenced their lives and ours.
Meet Frida Kahlo, this beautiful woman lead a very passionate life full of tragedy and circumstances. Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderon was born on the sixth of July in 1907 to Matilde and Guillermo Kahlo. From a young age Frida began suffering with one of her many illnesses. At age six she was stricken with polio, which made her right leg noticeable smaller than the other was. By the time she reached high school she led a life of mystery and lies. She was a bright student who attended the best preparatory school in Mexico. She was known as a rebellious student who flirted with many of the male students. Her high school notebooks were filled with sketches, including one of herself in a straw hat.
Frida fell in love with a young man by the name of Alejandro Gomez Arias, a charismatic leader of the Cachuchas. He was intelligent, attractive, well-mannered young man of a good family. They were very good friends who spent much time together, but never talked of marriage. One of their outings the two of them were involved in a terrible accident. The bus they were traveling in collided with a turning streetcar. The collision was very serous; Alex landed underneath the streetcar but regained consciousness and sought to help Frida. He found her bathed in blood, without her clothes, impaled on the rod of a metal handrail. A clad worker who had seen the accident pulled the rod out of her. This accident left Frida suffering for many years. She later developed a relationship with Diego Rivera which turned into a love affair that lead into marriage. Their marriage was not a welcomed one by her peers and parents. Diego was a fat, older man who was known to be a womanizer.
Her father expressed his concern and gave his blessing to the marriage. A marriage that would prove passionate, dangerous devoted and un-devoted over and over again. The two were married for over twenty years on and off. However, during this time Diego continued to support Fridas work. He was an encouragement from the beginning to the end. Fridas work has been seen in the United States as well as the southwest. Americans such as Edward G. Robinson was among the first to purchase her art. Many paintings were painted as thank you gifts and appreciation to individuals such as Dr. Leo Eloesser of San Francisco, California, who cared for her during a brief hospital stay involving a problem with her foot. Freda visited the United States many times. She became well know as an artist. Many of Fridas paintings were an array self-portraits and turmoil. They depicted things that were going on in her life. You could almost tell mood she was in by the type of paintings she painted. Frida suffered much from her illnesses, mostly related to her early accident. Her heavy drinking and bouts with depression helped to lead her downward spiral. Although she and Diego divorced they later re-married and he took care of her until she died at the age of forty-seven. She lived a passionate life, full fancy clothing, signature jewelry, passion for excitement, and a deep love for her beloved Diago.
Joe Villarreal is a native of San Antonio and has been drawing since the age of three. Joe found that he liked drawing since he entered his first contest at school in 1964. Villarreal did very well in the contest receiving a blue ribbon fir his efforts. He now has a total of eleven first place awards that has won in competitions. He took art classes in elementary, middle, and high schools. Hiss first art show was in 1969 at Trinity University. He then attended the Warren Hunter School of Art where he learned to paint with oils as well as air brushing and hand painting signs. After schooling, Joe began working as a graphics designer for a major research and development firm for 20 years. There he painted cover art for technical publications and brochures as well as in plant posters and illustrations. In 1963, Joe suffered a work-related injury that eventually caused an early retirement. He says that it is constant struggle and sometimes it is very difficult for him to paint. His love for art keeps him going each and every day. In over 40 years as an artist, Joe had painted portraits, sports art, landscapes, still life, western art, cultural art, and comtempory southwestern art. Among his many exhibit shows, he is also the first Latino native to unveil a 6 x 8 painting in front of the Alamo depicting the Battle of the Alamo. He gives lectures at local schools, community organizations and most recently the Edgewood Academy of Art. He stresses to these students the importance of confidence, self-esteem and personal values as a key to success. Joe encourages the students to take advantage of the talents they have and devolop them by practicing constantly. Joe has sold p[ainitngs to collectors as far away as Japan, Germany, Italy, England, Canada, Mexico, and throughout the United States. He currently has 28 print editions on the market. His cultural works are of the most popular that people collect and are selling out fast! Actors Jesse Borrego and Edward James Olmos have added his artwork to their collections. Since Joe has done sports art, some of the Dallas Cowboys and San Antonio Spurs own his work as well. Villarreal has been a member of the San Antonio Water Color Society, the Artist Alliance, the Art Cellar and the famed River Art Group. He is also a member of the San Antonio Living History Association and the Unites States Military Veterans Parade Association. He continues to make many donations year round. He has helped over 50 benefactors over the years including schools, churches, churches, non-profit and scholarship organizations including fund raisers for the terminally ill. He unveiled a painting that is a pert of his series Mis Recuerdos (My Memories) on television in March 2000. Some if Joes paintings were part of the PBS special The Mexican American which aired in August 2000. Joe has been nominated for many awards and accommodations in his hometown of San Antonio.
Another hispanic artist by the named, Clara Aguero, resides in Savannah, Gerogia and in Bogota, Colombia, South America. She holds five professional art degrees. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design, a Bachelor of Arts in Commercial Art, a Teaching Certificate in Art Education K-12, a Masters of Arts in Printmaking and a Master of Fine Arts in Photography. She has taught in the United States at such as Hampton University, Florida Com. College
A Comparative Analysis of Two Artists: Joy Hester and Frida Kahlo
‘Like everybody else, artists are effected and influenced by their personal and cultural backgrounds. Culture is learnt participatory and not genetic based , so it is strongly influenced by environment, experience and social learning.’
Artists such as Frida Kahlo and Joy Hester both explore emotional conditions and environmental influences through their artwork.
Like so many artists in the 1940s, Hester’s work was deeply affected by World War II. By employing certain techniques, Joy Hester illustrates emotional conditions through her highly authentic artworks. In exploring the impact World War II had on Australian communities, Hester furthered the stark and shocking images by using minimal ink in her work.
Frida Kahlo demonstrated the many sufferings in her life through her surreal and emotional artwork. Her self portraits are emotionally demanding, vivid and intense.
Through evoking their personal feelings, artists such as Joy Hester and Frida Kahlo were better able to use their personal experiences to communicate within their artwork.
Joy Hester exemplified emotional conditions through her highly personal, autobiographical artworks. She often concentrated on the human head and face to demonstrate feeling and physiological insight. Hester recognized that with a few precise strokes of brush, pen or ink in specific locations (such as the eyes), the whole mood of her work could alter. She is often described as a visual poet, telling the stories of human struggle, love and childhood. Just one of Hester’s emotional artworks is ‘Our Christ who mourns us’ (1947). By using only brush and ink, the portrait of Christ, illustrates much sadness and disappointment, and appears sympathetic to the viewer. It was created around World War II, and like many of her works, explored the impact that the conflict had on every-day people in Australian communities.
The great Mexican painter Frida Kahlo is without doubt one of the most intense and emotive artists of the twentieth century. Kahlo’s life changed dramatically at the age of 18, when she was involved in a terrible accident. A streetcar violently impacted the bus in which she was riding. She suffered multiple bone fractures, including the third and fourth lumbar vertebrae, and had a deep abdominal wound inflicted by a metal rod. She was confined for several months in a plaster corset. From that time on,
Kahlo suffered severe, widespread pain and profound fatigue. Generalized pain and exhaustion lingered with her for the remainder of her life.
Frida Kahlo explored emotional tension through her work. Her surreal paintings depict her anger and hurt over her unsettled marriage, painful miscarriages and the physical suffering she underwent from the horrific accident. Kahlo’s paintings were often quite disturbing as she openly displayed her anguish from the many hard times in her life. “…I paint my own reality, The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any consideration…” (Kahlo, 1931) Her greatest artworks were believed to be painted when she was suffering from depression. Kahlo holds nothing back in her paintings and she expresses her very deepest emotions in visual narratives. ‘Henry Ford Hospital’ (1932) depicts Kahlo laying on a hospital bed with strings attaching her to a uterus and a fetus. In this work her misery and pain in having another miscarriage, this image draws the viewer into her suffering.
In both pieces a feeling of infinite sadness is inherent. ‘Henry Ford Hospital’ presents the viewer with an automatic symbolic presentation of Kahlo’s immediate grief. The vivid and blatantly obvious topic of this piece, Kahlo’s miscarriage, is presented in a shocking and distressing manner. Its consists of Kahlo lying naked in a hospital bed bleeding on to the sheets. In her hands are several chords reminiscent of umbilical chords or arteries which are tied to different objects. Each object has symbolic value and meaning to Kahlo at the time. A self-explanatory fetus, a diagram of the female anatomy, an intact pelvis bone; unlike Kahlo’s fractured one. Kahlo also compared giving birth to her baby like giving birth to a slug. The pink orchid is reminiscent of the female genitalia , of femininity and of fertility and the machinery appears to be some kind of tool used in operation or something more symbolic like a press in which she felt placed.
‘Henry Ford Hospital’ uses stunning and vibrant colours. The picture is quite severe in that apart from the main focus (Kahlo and the objects), the background is desolate, much like a barren industrial wasteland. The contrast between the colours in focus, and the expanse of dry earth and open sky is immediate to the viewer.
Unlike ‘Henry Ford Hospital’, Hester’s ‘Our Christ Who Mourns Us’ uses tone within the one colour of ink to show depth and focus. ‘Henry Ford Hospital’ is quite surreal in the use of floating objects. However in comparison, ‘Our Christ Who Mourns Us’ is quite abstract in the form and composition, and explores an emotional feeling of sadness. The depth and focus is immediate in the eyes of Christ, however this is achieved by brush stroke and tone, rather than detail.
‘Henry Ford Hospital’ has more visual impact rather than ‘Our Christ Who Mourns Us’. Aesthetically, it is more demanding and thought provoking. There is definite depth in ‘Our Christ Who Mourns Us’, however it is not immediately grasping and demanding like ‘Henry Ford Hospital’. The raw emotion and passion inherent in Kahlo’s piece is gripping, being both graphically appalling and intimate for the viewer simultaneously.
Frida Kahlo and Joy Hester both explore emotional conditions through their artwork. Joy Hester concentrates her artwork on the human head and face employing precise brushstrokes, which can alter the mood of her works and the emotion they display.
Frida Kahlo displays her anguish and pain from certain instances in her life through highly original and interesting artwork. Her artwork is very confronting and can be disturbing to those who cannot see past the images that are not openly displayed in ‘normal’ artworks.
Within their work, the culture and background that each artist experienced personally is clearly visible. It is in their personal backgrounds that each artist derives inspiration and stimulus. Both Kahlo and Hester use the visual medium as a means of opening windows in human emotional conditions.
Analyzing How Self is Presented in Judith Leyster’s Painting Self Portrait and Frida Kahlo’s the Two Fridas
Presentation of Self/Female Self-Portraiture
I have chosen the theme “Presentation of Self/Female Self-Portraiture”(Which I’ll call the “Selfie” theme), and will do my best to evaluate two relevant artworks in the forthcoming essay. To be precise, I will be honing in on two portraits of what we might relate to as “Selfies” in today’s society. To begin, I have chosen a painting by Judith Leyster that is titled Self Portrait. Judith literally painted a portrait of herself painting in 1630. To further my evaluation of self-portraiture, I have also chosen a portrait by Frida Kahlo called The Two Fridas painted in 1939 where Frida painted two separate images of herself holding hand, but in different attire. My goal is to portray how these two paintings compare to the “Selfie” theme even though they were created 3 centuries apart from two artist from very different cultural backgrounds. I will also compare both works to the “Selfie” phenomenon that has riddled today’s social media.
Judith Leyster’s, oil painting Self Portrait, depicts Judith Leyster herself in the middle of painting another famous painting of hers called Merry Company according to National Gallery of Art. In the foreground, the painting shows Judith Leyster casually looking back at the viewer with a confident look. The background of the painting shows the unfinished Merry Company. it more of a darker tone to put more focus on Judith Leyster to show her personality and wit as an artist. Frida Kahlo’s painting, The Two Fridas, also express her personality like Judith Leyster. Painted with oil on a canvas, Frida shows both sides of herself. On the left, she is show in a white, European style dress. The Frida on the right is in a more traditional Mexican dress. Both Fridas have their heart displayed on their chest. The Frida’s heart on the right is open while the one on the left is closed. One heart is connected to a picture of her ex-husband to show that her heart is still connected to him according to Khan Academy. The other Frida shows the artery that should have been connected to the picture has been clipped and is bleeding out onto her white dress.
According to the National Gallery of Art, Judith Leyster’s Self Portrait was created during the Dutch Baroque period in 1630. The portrait was a self-promotion of her showing her product and skill. Judith Leyster’s Self Portrait is now located in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Frida Kahlo was a similar strong female artist. Frida Kahlo’s, The Two Fridas created in 1939, was painted after she divorced her husband Diego Rivera according to Khana Academy. It is also said that both Frida’s represent her parents and her parents’ background. The Two Fridas can now be viewed in the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City, Mexico.
Although centuries apart, Judith Leyster and Frida Kahlo are very similar in their need for self-preservation. They’re both strong females trying to either advertise themselves like Judith Leyster or preserving an emotional moment in time like Frida Kahlo. Both women use their self-portraits to preserve their strong female selves.
Judith Leyster and Frida Kahlo’s paintings compare to today in Postmodernism because it is human nature to preserve oneself whether it’s a moment in time or the need to preserve a milestone like a high school graduation photo. High school graduation photos in my case are a good representation of self-portraits in postmodern society. The photos don’t have to be formal but still shows a great representation a strong female graduation from high school. Self-preservation will always be a necessity through time.
Judith Leyster and Frida Kahlo’s portraits are a great representation of self-portraits and self-preservation. Even though the artist and art pieces were created centuries apart they are very similar in showing the strong willed females that they are. Judith Leyster used her photo to advertise her skill and product while Frida Kahlo used her self-portrait to show her moment strong moment in time after her divorce from Diego Rivera. These women’s photos are a cultural example that lives on today. Today you might find self-portraits in photos like portraits of milestones or a silly “selfie” from a social media site. Self-portraits are and forever will be a part of art.