Frida Kahlo’s face has been captured countless times on film and canvas, by herself and by others. With flowers in her hair and her signature dark unibrow, Frida’s striking portrait is an indelible image of the 20th century. Self-portraits account for a large portion of Kahlo’s paintings and she has been photographed by family, friends, lovers, and famous photographers throughout her life. In a new photography exhibit at Throckmorton Fine Art, FRIDA KAHLO: Forever Yours, visitors can peer into the artist’s portrait in nearly 50 rare and never-before-seen images that capture Kahlo from age two to just before her death at 47.

Throckmorton Gallery

On July 25th, 2024, join Untapped New York Insiders for a free guided tour of the exhibit led by Spencer Throckmorton! Not an Insider yet? Become a member today with promo code JOINUS and get your first month free! Registration for tickets opens on July 11th at 12pm ET.

Tour of FRIDA KAHLO: Forever Yours…

Frida Kahlo portrait on display at Throckmorton Fine Art

Kahlo spent most of her life, from 1907 to 1954, in Mexico City. She began painting self-portraits in 1925 while recuperating from a severe bus crash that put her in the hospital for weeks. Kahlo created around 200 still lifes and portraits throughout her life. Today, she is remembered as an artist, a political activist, and a feminist. Her work can be seen at such institutions as the Museum of Modern Art in New York where it hangs among masterpieces by Salvador Dalí and René Magritte.

Many of the images on display in this new exhibit come from founder Spencer Throckmorton’s extensive personal collection of Kahlo portraiture. He’s amassed nearly 200 portraits over the past 50 years. Throckmorton’s fascination with Frida Kahlo began on a trip to her hometown of Mexico City in 1977.

“A friend introduced me to Cristina Kahlo, Frida’s grand-niece, who was selling a photograph by Manuel Álvarez Bravo of Frida with a globe,” Throckmorton shared with Untapped New York, “I bought it, then started researching her. I read Hayden Herrera’s book Frida: The Biography of Frida Kahlo and just fell in love with her. I met her friends, neighbors, and family. And anywhere I could find a picture of Frida, I bought it at flea markets, auctions, everywhere. Once I started, pictures just started coming to me. It was almost magical. Then in the ‘80s, I found two lost paintings of Frida’s – one signed and one not.”

Frida khalo POrtaits at Throckmorton

Throckmorton mounted a show of his photographs in 2015, but since then has collected even more. For the current exhibit, he shares fifteen never-seen-before shots. These shots show Frida in a variety of different scenarios between 1930 and 1944.

The portraits on display show Frida in casual intimate moments and staged poses. In a never-before-seen series of black and white shots by her friend Rosa Cavarrubias, Frida lies in the grass, shading her eyes from the sun. Covarrubias, the wife of artist Miguel Covarrubias, was taught photography by Man Ray in Paris. In other images Frida is seen watching an eclipse, smoking a cigarette, kissing her husband Diego Rivera. In many, she gazes straight into the lens, or just out of frame, wearing a contemplative and enigmatic expression.

These moments were captured by noted photographers like Fritz Henle, Lucienne Bloch, Bernard Silberstein, Leo Matiz, Gisele Freund, Manuel Álvarez Bravo and his wife Lola Álvarez Bravo (one of Frida’s lifelong friends), Leon de Vos, Edward Weston, and Sylvia Salmi, a female photographer who also photographed other artists and intellectuals of the time including Albert Einstein, Diego Rivera, and Leon Trotsky. Photographs by people close to Frida, like her father Guillermo Kahlo, also feature in the installation. Guillermo was a well-known photographer in Mexico City.

Antonio Kahlo Frida Kahlo seated by phone, 1949 Gelatin silver print 14x11in Inventory #:70014

“One of the photos on view by her grand-nephew Antonio Kahlo shows Frida in her study surrounded by her books,” Throckmorton says, “She was very well educated and an avid reader. People didn’t realize how bright she was. Not only was she a trailblazing female painter known for her deeply personal and symbolic works, but she was also a real intellectual… and spiritual. Many people don’t know that she organized a meditation group with artists and friends that met every month in Mexico City. She was a trailblazing feminist who transcends all labels.”

Frida Kahlo Portraits at Throckmorton

When we visited the display, a series of portraits by Nickolas Muray, one of Frida’s lovers, stood out. They were taken on Kodak color film sent to Muray by the company. He had to send the film back to Kodak, and the photographer’s estate didn’t regain possession of the photographs he took until decades later. Once the images were returned, about 30 prints were made with the help of an expert who still knew how to develop that particular type of film. Those rare prints are now on sale at Throckmorton Fine Art.

  • Storage files at Throckmorton Fine Art
  • Storage files at Throckmorton Fine Art

On our trip to Throckmorton Fine Art, Norberto Rivera, Throckmorton’s Director of Photography, took us behind the scenes to see even more images kept in storage. He pulled open large drawers from towering rows of file cabinets. Inside, the drawers were bursting with images of Frida.

Along with the dozens of images on display, visitors to Throckmorton Fine Art will also find an embroidered Mexican blouse worn by Frida that she later gifted to a friend. There are also some examples of Frida’s work on display including a 1953 gouache entitled “The Laugh,” pencil drawings, and other small works. Books that contain photographs from the collection, including the 40th edition of the Taschen monograph Frida Kahlo, are also on view.

Blouse worn by Frida Kahlo

See all of these fascinating items for yourself and gain expert insight when you join Untapped New York Insiders for a tour of FRIDA KAHLO: Forever Yours… with Spencer Throckmorton on July 25th. The exhibit is on view through September 28th, 2024.

Tour of FRIDA KAHLO: Forever Yours…

Next, check out more must-see art in NYC!