Friday, December 21, 2007

Tacoma Art Museum Frida Kahlo Curriculum Guide for Teachers

Tacoma Art Museum presented Frida Kahlo: Images of an Icon photographic exhibition February 3 - June 10, 2007 and the adjacent exhibition Northwest Visions of Frida Kahlo. The museum's education department created a superb Curriculum Guide. It includes discussion topics, a timeline of Frida's life, photographer bios, vocabulary definitions from terms used related to Frida's life and a bibliography.

The museum has done a fantastic job of linking Frida to contemporary issues and iconography. This is a tremendous resource for Elementary and High School teachers.

Although this is not in San Francisco there are many San Francisco references in the Curriculum Guide and photographer bios.

Summary of exhibition:
Images of an Icon offers a means of seeing Frida Kahlo’s world through the eyes of those who surrounded her. Modern masters of the camera such as Lucienne Bloch, Emmy Lou Packard, Florence Arquin, and Manuel Alvarez Bravo, as well as leading photojournalists such as Giselle Freund, Bernard Silberstein, and Fritz Henle captured her in their lenses. Kahlo’s relatives, lovers, and friends, including Guillermo Kahlo, Nickolas Muray, and Lola Alvarez Bravo were witness to a more intimate Frida. The images span Kahlo’s life and follow the artist from precocious child to famous artist. They permit a look into her bedroom, a seat at her table, a visit to her hospital room, a stroll through her garden, and a view into her collections. There is an ancillary component to the exhibition featuring the work of Northwest artists who have been inspired by Kahlo, the artist and icon.

Portrait of the Artists as a Young Couple

A portrait of Frida and Diego in San Francisco from Vanity Fair (September 1931): pg. 63.
Peter A. Juley & Son, photographic firm.
Juley, Paul, 1890-1975, photographer.

Image taken in 1930 or 1931. Details about the print available at Smithsonian American Art Museum Photograph Archives Catalog.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

50th Anniversary of Diego Rivera's Death

According to the Virtual Diego Rivera Web Museum website 24 November 2007 was the 50th anniversary of Diego Rivera's death. The museum has a fantastic Adobe Flash video of Frida and Diego on its homepage.

Both Frida and Diego's last paintings are of watermelons. It is heartbreaking to see the images side by side.

Frida Kahlo, Sandías con leyenda: Viva la vida”(Watermelons with legend: The life lives), 1954

Diego Rivera, Watermelons, 1957

Frida and Diego at Cathay House restaurant

The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco (formerly the Museum of the City of San Francisco) posted this news clipping and photo from San Francisco Life on their website. It pictures Frida and Diego in the Cathay House restaurant 718 California Street at Grant Avenue in March 1941.

Cathay House restaurant is still in the same location, San Francisco's Chinatown. Unfortunately online reviews call it a disappointing tourist trap. It is a fantastic building - view images.
Did Frida turn heads in her native attire or even then were San Franciscans unfazed by unique characters?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Photos of Frida in San Francisco from Peter A. Juley & Son Collection

Photographic Archives of the Smithsonian American Art Museum include 127,000 black and white images from the Peter A. Juley & Son Collection. The Smithsonian Institution Research Information System is an online archive of the images which include several superb photographs of Frida and Diego with their friends in San Francisco.

To view the images follow this link and type Frida Kahlo into the General Keyword search.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pablo Picasso Earings

I've uploaded the video La Real Frida Kahlo to the blog from YouTube. Watching it I realised that I've never actually seen "live" footage of Frida. Notice in the closing sequence she is wearing the hand-shaped earings that Pablo Picasso gave her as a gift. Diego Rivera depicts here in these earings in his The Pan American Unity mural at the City College of San Francisco. She wears these same earings in Self Portrait Dedicated to Dr Eloesser 1940 (pictured right).

If you visit the Museo Frida Kahlo in Coyoacán, Mexico you can see one of these earings, discovered in a storage box in 2005, displayed in a glass case in her painting studio. If I recall correctly it is cracked - missing a finger.

Friday, November 9, 2007

SFMOMA 2008 Kahlo Exhibition

Notice of an upcoming Frida Kahlo exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art honoring her 100th birthday.

Frida Kahlo
Saturday, June 14, 2008 – Sunday, September 28, 2008
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Frida Kahlo’s birth, this exhibition—organized by SFMOMA and the Walker Art Center with renowned Kahlo biographer Hayden Herrera—brings together approximately 50 paintings spanning the artist’s career, from 1926 to 1954. Focusing on Kahlo’s hauntingly seductive and often brutal self-portraits, the presentation will elucidate the progression of her practice, reflecting both her private obsessions and political concerns. In conjunction with the exhibition, the Museum will present a small selection of photographs from the Vicente Wolf Photography Collection, including portraits of Kahlo by preeminent photographers of the period, as well as personal snapshots of the artist with family and friends from the artist’s own photo albums—some of which have never before been published or exhibited.

A major publication with newly commissioned essays, bibliography, exhibition history, and illustrated timeline, will accompany the exhibition.

Exhibition Tour
Premiere Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota October 27, 2007–January 20, 2008
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania February 20 –May 18, 2008
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California June 14–September 16, 2008

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Mural Maze

This week the Financial Times published The Mural Maze, an article by Jane Urs-Smith, about the murals of San Francisco and centering around Diego Rivera. A brief mention of Frida Kahlo in the final paragraph.

The article includes a helpful list of mural touring links.

Ure-Smith concludes by advocating for the relocation of Diego's "Pan American Unity" mural from its obscure location at City College to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art if they can find the space.

"On my last day, I sped down the freeway to City College’s Ocean Avenue campus to revisit “Pan American Unity” (1940), the third Rivera work in San Francisco. Arriving with what I thought was 10 minutes to spare, I found the theatre locked and in darkness. An assistant to the dean of arts eventually let me in but not before she’d lectured me about burglar alarms and cops and how she took the rap every single time – but what did a selfish soul like me care?

I didn’t. Instead, I felt annoyed that this magnificent 22-metre work – a call for American solidarity in the face of the growing threat of fascism, with Hitler, Frida Kahlo and Charlie Chaplin among its characters – is locked away in a dusty campus theatre lobby and only available to the public for two or three hours a day. Unlike most frescoes, this one is on 10 moveable panels. If San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art has a big white space to spare, that’s where this Rivera should be."

The mural maze
By Jane Ure-Smith
Published: November 2 2007 17:05 Last updated: November 2 2007 17:05

Saturday, November 3, 2007

My Beloved Doctor - a friendship in letters

Museo Frida Kahlo, in September 2007, published a bilingual book of letters between Frida Kahlo and Dr. Eloesser called My Beloved Doctor, the term Kahlo used to address her dear friend.

Read the UK Guardian's article about the book Frida Kahlo's last secret finally revealed.

Inspiration for this blog

In 2005 I had the opportunity to work with the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation, UCSF Medical Center Dean's office, Consul General of Mexico in San Francisco , Museo Frida Kahlo, and Museo Dolores Olmedo in negotiating the restoration and loan of a pair of paintings "La Tortillera", painted in 1926 by Rivera and Kahlo's 1931 "Portrait of Dr. Leo Eloesser. The paintings were loaned to Museo Frida Kahlo for an exhibition exploring her friendship with Dr. Eloesser and was called The Three Friends.

I followed the paintings on their journey to the Museo de Frida Kahlo exhibition. It was an emotional exchange as it was Frida's painting's first visit to Mexico. The experience changed my life and she has become an inspiration to me and the creation of this blog is to share my passion with others who are interested in discovering Frida in San Francisco.

The paintings hang in lobby of San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center at 1001 Potrero Avenue (between 22nd St & 23rd St) in San Francisco.

Top left: Portrait of Dr. Eloesser by Frida Kahlo, 1931
Bottom right: La Tortillera by Diego Rivera, 1926

Frida and Dr. Eloesser

Dr. Eloesser, who worked at the San Francisco General Hospital was a lifelong friend of Frida's after she visited San Francisco in her...