Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibition opens at the Art Gallery of NSW

Presenting 33 masterpieces from the collection of Jacques and Natasha Gelman, an exhibition featuring the work of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera has opened this past weekend at the Art Gallery of NSW.

Two of modern art history’s most famous names, Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera are as famous for their communist leaning political views as their impressive body of work.

Kahlo, who began to paint while recovering from horrific injuries sustained during a car crash as a teenager, specialised in self-portraits (“I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.”), while Rivera spent time as part of the French avant-garde movement in Paris, before returning to Mexico to paint politically charged murals.

The pair married in the 1929, divorced in the 1939, and were married again in 1940, remaining together until Kahlo’s death in 1954.

In a recently opened exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW, running until October 9th, a selection of their work will be displayed alongside a collection of photographs by various people from their tumultuous life together, including Edward Weston, Lola Alvarez Bravo, and Guillermo Kahlo, Frida’s father.

The key works are on loan from the Gelman Collection, begun by Jacques Gelman, a Russian film producer who specialised in recreating Western films for Mexican audiences. He and his wife Natasha met Diego Rivera when they commissioned him to paint Natasha’s portrait, beginning a long relationship with Mexican art that would eventually see their accumulated collection divided between the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and the Centro Cultural Muros in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

The exhibition offers a rare chance to see masterpieces from two of Mexican art history’s most famous names, providing a fascinating insight into both their personal life and their politics.


Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection will run until October 9th. Tickets are available online and in person at the Art Gallery of NSW. A series of events has also been organised in conjunction with the exhibition.
For more information, see the Art Gallery of NSW website.

Featured image: Frida Kahlo, ‘Diego on my mind (Self-portrait as Tehuana)’, 1943


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