In this highly focused exhibition, we offer an analysis of a single painting, My Grandparents, My Parents, and I by Frida Kahlo (1907-1954). Painted in 1936, this work relates to Kahlo's hybrid identity as the offspring of a multicultural and interracial marriage, and alludes to her German-Jewish roots.
Throughout her life, Kahlo was known first and foremost as the wife of the legendary artist Diego Rivera. In time, her dramatic life story, indigenous costumes, and avid devotion to Mexico drew attention to her colorful personality, and she came to be identified as the quintessential Mexican woman — La Mexicana. It was only after her death that Kahlo gained international acclaim as an artist in her own right. Yet even today, her stormy relationship with Rivera and her flamboyant personality continue to overshadow her identity as a serious painter.
Kahlo was an extremely well-read intellectual. She amassed a huge library, read in three different languages, and immersed herself in literature, history, philosophy, science, and art. Kahlo's art reflects her erudition. Her compositions are often based on meticulous preparatory sketches, well-chosen photographs and diverse visual and textual sources, many of them gleaned from her books.
A close look at Kahlo's art also reveals that alongside the Mexican persona, numerous other identities exist. Kahlo portrayed herself in alternative roles, appearing as an androgynous creature, a crowned nun, the Hindu goddess Parvati, a little deer, and as a Jew.
By retracing the artist's creative process, uncovering the varied sources that informed her work, and exploring the context in which it was created, we hope to shed light on aspects of Kahlo's complex identity.
Gannit Ankori
Guest Curator

Major support for Frida Kahlo's Intimate Family Picture is given in honor of Evelyn G. Clyman by the Eugene M. and Emily Grant Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Reed Foundation and the Mex-Am Cultural Foundation, Inc.