Snooping on Frida (& Diego)

Our recent trip to Mexico City was meant to be a pilgrimage to the Old Gods and the New Goddesses, namely Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington. Sadly we were unable to see any of their  work, most on loan (Posado’s work was equally elusive , partly due to our lame Spanish I fear).  

But as my friend Rosa loves to tell me when a door slams shut a window opens. This trip if anything was a Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo extravaganza.

I am new to loving Frida, having been overexposed to her ominous brow  plastered on everything from coffee mugs to mouse pads. But since exploring the woman surrealists of Mexico I have fallen passionately in love with her. A trip to the Casa Azul was a necessity , tourists be damned. Fortunately Mexico City is not an early bird town and we had the place to ourselves in the early morn, a great luxury in such a metropolis.

 Italian Vogue has some exhibition going on concerning her clothing, again my Spanish is so lousy that I missed most of the point; but her clothing is fantastic .

Some of her costumes will be familiar to those who love her sell portraits.






As frothy and candy colored was her wardrobe, the corsets and crutches added a dark element. 


As fashion isn’t really a burning passion for me, I was more interested in the domestic life the two shared.

Although much of the Casa Azul is now devoted to gallery space one gets a sense of how well they lived, with taste not ostentation.  A Bloomsbury south of the border.

I was thrilled by the kitchen with its bright yellow furnishings, so inspirational.


Every artist has to peak into her studio, I was impressed that it wasn’t huge (Diego had a large studio of course) , but it was so well lit. Their favorite architect Juan O’Gorman, a great artist in his own right, added sensitive additions to her family home. 




Fun note, she stored excess paint in empty nail polish bottles, a glamorous touch.


Another interesting note is that her enviable easel was a gift from uber capitalist John D. Rockefeller; amusing that such ardent Marxists could be friendly enough to accept such a wonderful gift. For those interested it was made by Windsor and Newton, and it is fantastic; my own pitiful easel pales in comparison.

The gardens of Casa Azul are equally inspiring, generally I avoid the soil, but I’m tempted.


exterior view of the O’Gorman addition with charming dove-cots built from embedded clay jugs.



Rivera’s idea of a garden folly, a miniature pyramid; a perfect altar for Dia de los Mortos.


If I am going to work in the yard I must paint the walls blue as well because my husband looks so handsome against them.


That’s it for now, back to work, but until next time be well,


Author: babylonbaroque

I am a painter and printmaker working towards creating a body of work that reflects my own developing aesthetic. New work ,first link. The second link is an on-line portfolio.

13 thoughts on “Snooping on Frida (& Diego)”

  1. How could such a fantastic place (and couple) as the Casa Azul (and Frida and Diego) ever be boring? I’m so glad you made it there. And I’m especially glad that you found it so delightful.

    1. I didn’t mean to imply boring, not at all. What I feared was swarms of tourists. Luckily, as I mentioned , they were still snug in their beds that Saturday morning . I’m tickled to have gone. We also went to Rivera’s private museum, Anahuacalli but foolishly neglected to pay the camera fee. A pity as it is a stunning place. Next trip we plan to visit again plus Rivera and Kahlo’s home/studio in San Angel.

  2. besides holding a work-in-progress, the easel and the corsets have a few screws in common. I’m not surprised by the gift from Rockefeller, small really, for the man who commissioned Rivera for Rockefeller Center, a patron is a patron. Somewhere on the internets there are a few pictures of Rivera, Kahlo, and Rockefeller in NYC, they’re pleasingly surreal.

    1. No I get it, patronage and such. I’m just reminded of the fact that in our current political climate, such an amicable union between parties with such opposite beliefs, would most likely not occur.
      I have seen that image of the unlikely duo (and trio) and it is indeed surreal.

  3. a what a wonderful experience! thank you so much for the photos..i love those “dove cots”, how clever, and i am with you–i love, love gardens, they are so lovely, but am particularly non-adept with soil (sadly, a germaphobe). the blue wall is perfect, all the blue walls! and the yellow touches, too. what a lovely studio!

    1. Oh you must, quite a collection, I will post a slide show pronto.
      We must get together quite soon, turkey day or not; we bought a mega jar of chipolte mole and you two can help us figure out what to do with it-it’s so lovely. See you soon!

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