The Mexican modern art master and her husband are storming Sydney with a barrage of masterpieces from the Gelman Collection
Polyamorous, communist, feminist, queen of the selfie – Frida Kahlo was ahead of her time, before you even get to her art. She’s also a rare example of an outranking female artist in one of the great partnerships of modern art – and probably one of the few artists whose face you know.
Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera star in the new exhibition at Art Gallery of New South Wales, which draws on the collection of Mexican-based European emigres and collectors Jacques and Natasha Gelman, who were friends of the artists.
More than 30 works from the Gelman Collection will feature in Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, as well as 49 photographs of tracking their lives as individuals and a couple, dating from 1911 (when Frida was 4 and Diego was, er, 25) to the 1950s (Kahlo died in 1954).
Frida and Diego are having a bit of a moment internationally: besides this exhibition, which opened in Seoul in 2015, two other retrospectives of the couple opened that year – in Detroit and Florida; and Kahlo’s courtyard garden was recreated at the New York Botanical Garden.
One of the highlights of the Sydney exhibition is Kahlo’s 1943 work ‘Self portrait with monkeys’. “In certain ways this painting heralds the beginning of what we know now as Frida-mania,” says AGNSW’s senior curator of modern and contemporary international art Nicholas Chambers.
See what other art exhibitions are closing soon.