Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is one of modern art‘s most popular figures. Today, the artist’s many admirers are able to get a glimpse of her life through her introspective art and revealing artifacts. While these treasured objects can be found in many major museums around the world, they are most at home in La Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo’s famous “blue house.”
As Kahlo’s birthplace, childhood residence, and place of death, La Casa Azul played a prominent role in the artist’s life. Today, it is known as the Frida Kahlo Museum, an institution that proudly “preserves the personal objects that reveal the private universe of Latin America’s most celebrated woman artist.”
Life in La Casa Azul
In 1904, Frida Kahlo’s father, Guillermo, built La Casa Azul in the colorful Colonia del Carmen district of Coyoacán in Mexico City. The building featured a French-inspired design when Frida’s mother, Matilde, gave birth to her in 1907.
Due to a series of health problems, Kahlo spent much of her childhood and young adulthood confined to La Casa Azul. At the age of six, she contracted polio and spent nine months in bed. When she was 18, she was involved in a streetcar accident that left her with a broken spinal column and other major injuries. Bored and bedridden, Kahlo began painting. She even had a mirror installed on the ceiling of her bedroom so she could create self-portraits.
In 1931, Kahlo moved out and married fellow painter Diego Rivera. However, she returned to the family home following their divorce eight years later. Kahlo painted some of her most famous paintings after her homecoming, including The Two Fridas and Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird.
The following year, Kahlo and Rivera reconciled and remarried. Right before her father’s death, they moved into La Casa Azul and redecorated it. They filled its courtyard with Pre-Columbian statues, built a sunny art studio upstairs, and famously covered its white façade in a coat of cobalt blue paint.
They lived in the house for the remainder of Kahlo’s short life. In 1950, she was once again housebound due to her lifelong ailments. She died four years later.