Rare Childhood Portraits of Frida Khalo Captured by Her Father

Artist Frida Kahlo is probably best known for her painted self portraits, but she also had a well-documented life on camera. There are hundreds of photographs taken of her as an adult with husband Diego Rivera, but what's less common are images from her childhood. Her father, Guillermo Kahlo, often captured her as a young girl on film. These rare and beautiful images give us a glimpse into what Kahlo's early life was like.

Her family grew up in what's now known as La Casa Azul (the blue house), named that because of its cobalt walls. She had a lot of women in her life: her mother Matilde, four sisters, and two half-sisters that also lived with her. These photographs highlight a coming-of-age that's surrounded by family, friends, and a lot of love. Kahlo holds gorgeous bouquets of flowers, a prized doll as well as donning a man's suit and cane.

Even as a young child, Khalo's face was instantly recognizable. Her intense gaze was matched with strong eyebrows that permeated her later artworks.

Above: Age 2, c. 1909

Age 4, 1911

Age 4, 1911

Date Unknown

Age 5, 1912

Age 6, 1913

Frida (far right) age 12, with sister Cristina (left) and best friend, Isabel Campos (center), 1919

Frida dressed in drag (center), with sisters Adriana and Christina and cousins Carmen and Carlos Verasa, 1926

Age 18, 1926

via [Neatorama, Dangerous Minds, and Vintage Everyday]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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