Frida and the Casa Azul

Butterfly (mariposa in Spanish) – Frida painted a butterfly into several of her self-portraits and considered them to be a “sign of transformation”

For several months, visitors to the San Antonio Botanical Garden have been treated to a delightful display of animals created in the style of the Mexican arte popular that influenced the art of Frida Kahlo (1907-1954). Before the exhibit came I wasn’t familiar with Frida, but I was familiar with her artist husband, Diego Rivera.

In pre-Hispanic cultures, the figure of a deer was filled with symbolism. Frida had a pet fawn, Granizo, that lived in the Casa Azul Garden.
The detail on the deer made me smile when I looked at it closely!

Frida’s many paintings and self-portraits were inspired by her love of nature and the art of Mexican painters. Her self-portraits were expressions of her inner turmoils and her physical pain from injuries incurred as a teenager when she was involved in a serious trolley accident. During her lifetime she would undergo 30 surgeries related to her wounds.

Frida in the garden of Casa Azul with her Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced “show-low-eats-QUEENT-lee”). The Xolo breed is traced back to the Aztecs.

Frida and Diego, along with their many animals, lived in her family home in Cocoaycan, Mexico. After they painted it cobalt blue it became know as Casa Azul. They met through their involvement in the Mexican Communist Party and continued to be active throughout their lives. Their relationship was very tumultous and they both indulged in numerous affairs. Frida expressed her disappointments in the relationship in many of her self-portraits.

Entrance into an exhibit about Frida’s life in Casa Azul
Frida had cages of parrots, parakeets, and macaws in the Casa Azul garden. She painted a favorite yellow-headed parrot into several of her self-portraits.
These six stylized figures of Frida will eventually be a part of a world-wide exhibit. Their colors and whimsical designs made them fun to walk through over and over. They were particularly enchanting as the setting sun gave them an extra sheen.

The exhibit closed on November 2nd, but I’m glad Frida and her art style came for a visit!

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