The 5 Best Places to See Frida Kahlo’s Art

| Gabriella Clare Marino / Unsplash
Elizabeth Lee

The 20th-century Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is known for her fantastical paintings and self-portraits that portray elements of Mexican folk culture. Here, we explore some of the best places, from Mexico City to New York City, to see her legendary artworks.

As a female painter in a male-dominated era, region and industry, Frida Kahlo created vibrant works of art depicting feminist themes of sexual and emotional exploration. Her work was often overshadowed by that of her husband, Diego Rivera, but she gained more recognition after her death in 1954. Today, she remains one of the most celebrated Mexican painters.

1. Frida Kahlo Museum, Ciudad de México

Museum

blue and white concrete building near green trees, Frida Kahlo Museum, Ciudad de México, Mexico City
adrian alva / Unsplash
The best place to gain an understanding of Frida Kahlo’s complex life is at the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City. It sits inside La Casa Azul (the Blue House) – Kahlo’s childhood home and residence for the majority of her life. The artworks displayed here are mostly her lesser-known pieces, many of which she produced later in life when her communist leanings were at their strongest. Apart from Kahlo’s artwork, the museum displays paintings by her husband and personal effects, such as photographs and letters.

2. Museo Dolores Olmedo

Building, Museum

Self Portrait with Small Monkey
Courtesy of Museo Dolores Olmedo
With her private art collection, Mexican businesswoman Dolores Olmedo founded her eponymous museum in Mexico City. The collection follows a distinctly Mexican theme, complete with works by Mexican artists from various regions and eras, including pre-colonial indigenous artists and contemporary talent. Olmedo has 25 of Kahlo’s paintings, along with some of her sketches and drawings.

3. Museo de Arte Moderno, Ciudad de Mexico

Museum

The Museo de Arte Moderno highlights 20th-century Mexican art, with more than 3,000 works in its collection, including pieces by Frida Kahlo. Here, you’ll find The Two Fridas, one of the artist’s most famous paintings. Depicting two Fridas, one in European dress and the other in indigenous Mexican clothing, the self-portrait is a powerful work that symbolizes her uncertain identity – culturally and otherwise.

4. The Museum of Modern Art – MoMA, NYC

Art Gallery, Building, Museum, Opera House

Museum of Modern Art, West 53rd Street, New York, NY, USA
Jamison McAndie / Unsplash
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in NYC houses an impressive collection of famous modern and contemporary works, including three of Kahlo’s self-portraits. Among them is Fulang-Chang and I, depicting Kahlo and her pet monkey Fulang-Chang, whom she loved like a child; she could not have children due to a brutal accident that left her with health problems her whole life. She gave this painting to her close friend Mary Sklar; Kahlo attached a mirror to it so that they could be together anytime Mary looked into it.

5. National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington

Museum

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington DC holds Kahlo’s Self-Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky. Kahlo painted this self-portrait during or shortly after her brief affair with Russian communist leader Leon Trotsky. She was an outspoken socialist and member of the Mexican Communist Party, believing that the political movement would bring back and embrace the country’s folk culture. Kahlo is one of the few Mexican artists to be featured in the NMWA.

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