The Best Places to See Frida Kahlo’s Art

A shrine at the Frida Kahlo Museum pays respect to the artist and her husband, Diego Rivera
A shrine at the Frida Kahlo Museum pays respect to the artist and her husband, Diego Rivera | © David Crossland / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Elizabeth Lee
19 May 2021

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.

Frida Kahlo Museum, Mexico City

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COYOACAN, MEXICO - OCT 28, 2016: Interior yard of the Blue House (La Casa Azul), historic house and art museum dedicated to the life and work of Mexic
© Anton Ivanov / Alamy Stock Photo
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.

Museo Dolores Olmedo, Mexico City

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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.

Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City

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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.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York City

Art Gallery, Building, Museum, Opera House
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Fulang-Chang and I by Frida Kahlo at the MOMA in New York City, USA. When curators Leah Dickerman, Luis Perez-Oramas, and I began to discuss our plans
© Sergi Reboredo / Alamy Stock Photo
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.

National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC

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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.
These recommendations were updated on May 19, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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