EST. 2009

March 30, 2018

That Casa Azul


IT WAS IN THIS HOUSE, AFTER A TRAGIC ACCIDENT THAT LEFT HER IN A CAST FOR THREE MONTHS, that she taught herself to paint. Casa Azul, in Mexico City's Coyoacán borough, was artist Frida Kahlo's home from childhood, through to marriage, and final days.

Opened as a museum four years after her death in 1954, the house preserves and presents the objects of Frida's life, offering glimpses into her suffering and strength. Originally built in a French style, Casa Azul was later adapted by Frida and her husband, Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, to have a bigger garden and bolder colors. Though striking from the outside with vivid blues, reds, and greens, Casa Azul feels much more intimate inside, presenting Frida as an artist, wife, and proud Mexican.

Pre-Hispanic artefacts demonstrate her affection for indigenous people and culture. Books and painting showcase her intellectual curiosity. A scientific artwork of intra-uterine development reminds of her unfulfilled desire for motherhood. "All of her objects are there, and people are present in the things they choose to have around them during their life." explains biographer Hayden Herrera. There is evidence of sorrow, but also of joy and resilience.

A number of Frida's works are on display at the museum, including Frida and the Cesarean, an unfinished painting that expresses her obsession with maternity. There's also Viva la vida, her final painting which pays tribute to life in spite of deteriorating health.

Although Diego Rivera's name is prominently spelled out on the kitchen wall, and on an inscription in the garden, his presence in the house is subdued. Casa Azul breathes the essence of Frida Kahlo, with her love of objects revealing her many dimensions.

La Casa Azul, Coyoacán, Mexico City.

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