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December 2013


Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting

Posted September 18, 2012 by artBahrain in Museums

Diego Rivera (1886-1957) Retrato de Natasha Gelman, 1943
(Portrait of Natasha Gelman, 1943) oil on canvas 115 X 153 cm
The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of Mexican Art
(C) Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico,
D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) , Canada
20 October 2012 – 20 January 2013

This fall, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) will present a major survey of masterworks by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, two renowned and prolific early 20th-century painters whose work continues to resonate with viewers around the world. Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting features 75 works by the artists, drawn primarily from the collection of Mexico’s Museo Dolores Olmedo. These works highlight Rivera and Kahlo’s lives together and apart, their politics and relationship to society and how their passionate views and activism influenced their work. The exhibition will be at the AGO from Oct. 20, 2012 through Jan. 20, 2013.

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) Autorretrato con monos, 1943
(Self-Portrait with Monkeys, 1943) oil on canvas 81.5 X 63 cm
The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of Mexican Art (C)
Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D. F./ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting is presented in collaboration with the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, which will display the exhibition in February 2013. This relationship signals a continuation of the AGO’s commitment to working with the world’s most esteemed art institutions, following partnerships with New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and the Musée National Picasso, Paris.

“I am delighted to join forces on this project with the High, a museum for which I have the utmost respect,” says Matthew Teitelbaum, AGO Director, and CEO. “Collaborations such as these strengthen the international community of art institutions and allow us to continue bringing the world’s most renowned art to our visitors and members.”

Frida & Diego marks the first time important work by two influential Mexican artists will be shown in the Southeast,” said Michael E. Shapiro, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green Director of the High Museum of Art. “By working with the Art Gallery of Ontario, the High Museum of Art continues its commitment to collaborative partnerships that bring great works of art from around the world to Atlanta.”

Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting positions the artists’ work in the political and artistic contexts of their time. Kahlo, whose paintings were described by French poet and writer André Breton as “a ribbon around a bomb,” was called a Surrealist by some, but she resisted the label and claimed she painted her reality, not her dreams. The selected works allude to both artists’ support for the Communist movement, as well as the concept of Mexicanidad, an identification with Mexico’s indigenous roots.

“The opportunity to bring the works of these iconic painters to Toronto is truly extraordinary,” says Elizabeth Smith, the AGO’s Executive Director of Curatorial Affairs. “The exhibition highlights Kahlo and Rivera’s development as artists and gives visitors a glimpse into their private lives, which were famously as tumultuous as they were inspired.”

Notable works by Kahlo include:

  • Hospital Henry Ford (Henry Ford Hospital); 1932, oil on metal;
  • Autorretrato con monos (Self Portrait with Monkeys); 1943, oil on canvas;
  • La columna rota (The Broken Column); 1944, oil on masonite;
  • El abrazo de amor de el universo, la tierra (México), Diego, yo y el Señor Xólotl (The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Diego, Me and Señor Xólotl); 1949, oil on masonite.

Notable works by Rivera include:

  • Autorretrato (Self Portrait); 1930, lithograph;
  • La canoa enflorada (The Flowered Canoe); 1931, oil on canvas;
  • Vendedora de alcatraces (Calla Lily Vendor); 1943, oil on masonite;
  •  El joven de la estilográfica (Portrait of Best Maugard); 1914, oil on canvas.

The Museo Dolores Olmedo houses the world’s largest assemblage of work by Kahlo, including many considered to be among her masterpieces, such as The Broken ColumnHenry Ford Hospital and Self Portrait with Small Monkey. The museum’s collection also features numerous works by Rivera that helped establish the Mexican School of Painting, as well as his portraits, both of which are represented in Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting.

The exhibition also features works from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of Mexican Art, which comprises the largest private holding of 20th-century Mexican art, spanning works from the 1910s to the 1990s. Friends of Rivera and Kahlo, the Gelmans amassed a significant number of their works, including Kahlo’s inventive self-portraits and Rivera’s portrait of Natasha Gelman from 1943.

AGO members will enjoy free admission to Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting and will be invited to an exclusive advance preview in the days leading up to the exhibition’s public opening. More information on AGO membership can be found at

This exhibition is co-organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), the High Museum of Art (Atlanta) and the Museo Dolores Olmedo (Mexico City) in association with The Vergel Foundation, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of Mexican Art and Galería Arvil.

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