Frida Kahlo’s Custom Family Tree or “Who better than me could paint my idol’s family tree?”

AFrida Kahlo's family tree painting featuring the artist herself, one of her self-portraits and her family.nyone who knows me personally is aware of my love for Frida Kahlo’s art.  One of my favorite works by Kahlo is a painting of her family tree entitled “My Grandparents, My Parents, and I“.

However, that wasn’t the only family tree the Mexican artist had worked on.  There was another one she was working on during her hospital stay in 1950. Unfortunately, she never got a chance to complete her second family tree painting.

For some reason I kept on thinking about that piece. Although I’m not sure whether it was because the painting was a family tree and I happen to paint family trees or if it was because I was bothered by it’s unfinished status.

I’ve always felt an almost mystical connection to Frida, so one day, I’ve decided to complete Frida’s unfinished family tree for her (granted in my own style). It turned out to be one of the funnest projects I’ve ever worked on. 

For my painting, I had to do quite a bit of research and I had to make some executive decisions based on what I believed Frida would’ve wanted.
Sounds kooky? Oh, well… It’s to be expected of us, (artistic folk)…

So here is my version of my favorite artist’s family tree with Frida herself in the center, next to her famous painting “Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace; Hummingbird; Cat and Monkey”.  The painting also features Kahlo’s husband Diego Rivera, her sisters, parents, and both sets of her grandparents.

Frida Kahlo’s family tree: photos, etc. that served as my research and inspiration:

Frida Kahlo during a hospital stay painting a portrait of her family in bed. The artist died in 1954 without finishing it.

Frida Kahlo painting her family tree portrait in a hospital bed

Frida Kahlo’s unfinished family portrait.

Family portrait that Frida Kahlo never got to finish due to her premature death.

I painted Frida’s face from one of my favorite photos of her and dressed her up in an outfit she used to wear in real life.  I figured I should feature one of her famous self-portraits in the painting and placed it on an easel next to the artist.  I had a feeling Frida would’ve wanted her pets to be included in the painting, so I added a few of her dogs.  Fun fact: by pure chance, my own rescue pup Gracie happens to look exactly like one of Kahlo’s dogs.

Portrait of Frida Kahlo painted from her photo with a red bow in her hair by Nickolas Muray

My portrait of Diego Rivera along with some things that inspired me to paint him: his photos, his artwork featuring calla lilies, Frida Kahlo’s self-portrait on a bed entitled “Me and My Doll”, and La Casa Azul (the blue house where they Frida and Rivera lived).

Portrait of Diego Rivera painted from his photo next to his wife Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo’s sisters: Matilde, Adriana, and Cristina. Kahlo also had 2 older half-sisters from her father Guillermo’s first marriage, but I chose not to add them to her tree since the artist didn’t grow up with them. The poor things were send to a convent after their mother died and Guillermo remarried.

Photo to painting of Frida Kahlo's sisters: Matilde, Adriana, and Cristina

Frida Kahlo’s parents Guillermo Kahlo and Matilde Calderón y González. Frida’s father was a photographer, so I chose to paint him next to a vintage camera.

Frida Kahlo’s German grandparents Jakob Heinrich Kahlo and Henriette Kaufmann. I had 2 depictions of them painted by Frida Kahlo herself, but also (interestingly enough) I was able to find their actual photos online. Gotta love the internet!

Photos to painting of Frida Kahlo's German grandparents Jakob Heinrich Kahlo and Henriette Kaufmann

Frida Kahlo’s Mexican grandparents. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any photos of them online and only had Kahlo’s portraits of them to go by. Frida’s grandmother looks different in each one of Kahlo’s paintings, so I decided to add a photo of Frida herself to the mix to come up with what I think her grandmother could’ve looked like.

Portrait of Frida Kahlo's Mexican grandparents painted from Kahlo's own painting

 

 

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