Discover the art of cultural icons Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, come face-to-face with some of Kahlo’s most arresting self-portraits, and learn about their shared drive to articulate a new Mexican art in the exhibition, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Art and Life in Modern Mexico.

The exhibition comprises the Jacques and Natasha Gelman collection, one of the preeminent private collections of Mexican modernism. The Gelmans began collecting shortly after their arrival in Mexico in the early 1940s, and established friendships with the artists, often commissioning portraits of themselves for the walls of their home.

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Art and Life in Modern Mexico includes over 150 artworks, including paintings and drawings by Kahlo, Rivera’s oil paintings of Mexican customary life, and an array of work by other leading artists, including muralists David Siqueiros and Rufino Tamaro, and María Izquierdo, whose star rivalled Kahlo’s during their lifetimes. Alongside paintings, the exhibition includes a large collection of photography, which introduces visitors to life through the modernist lenses of Lola Álvarez Bravo, Manuel Álvarez Bravo and Nickolas Muray.

Kahlo and Rivera are internationally recognised for their contributions to the evolution of modern twentieth century art. Both artists, despite possessing completely different styles, became two of Mexico’s most celebrated and inspiring personalities, and played a crucial role in defining a new art following the Mexican Revolution. While Rivera’s art projected itself outwards, often on a vast scale, and concerned itself with the construction of a national identity, Kahlo’s turned inwards and represented Mexicanidad – Mexican national identity – through an exploration of her personal identity.

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Art and Life in Modern Mexico opens on Saturday October 15 and is $24.50 for adults, and free for members. 

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Last updated: 16 June 2022