How was the work of Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe own work different from and similiar to their partners?Georgia O'Keeffe was married to Alfred Steiglitz and Frida Kahlo was married to Diego...

How was the work of Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe own work different from and similiar to their partners?

Georgia O'Keeffe was married to Alfred Steiglitz and Frida Kahlo was married to Diego Riveria. Both were married to artists who were famous and alreadt established artists. It could be argued that both of these woman are now better known than their husbands.

 

Asked on by monique06

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that both Kahlo and O’Keeffe sought out their husbands as mentors first.  Their work parallels their husbands because of this fact.  In the end, it is this that allows their work to bear so many  similarities to their husbands.  They approached them as artists, first.  The aspect of being a spouse or a life partner came afterwards.  Interesting to note that both of Kahlo and O’Keeffe started to diverge from their mentors’/ husbands’ work once the emotional aspect became evident.  This could be attributed to a couple of reasons.  One might be that the relationships that they formed with their mentors, becoming life partners, allowed them to take risks and branch out in their artistic exploration.  The comfort they felt with their life partners allowed the courage to take these risks, and to diverge from their mentors’ watchful eyes.  Another equally valid explanation would be that once their relationships with their mentors emerged into something where emotional truth and honesty revealed the mentors’ true sense of self, perhaps their divergence was more out of a way of flight from them.  For example, Rivera’s infidelities, especially with Kahlo’s sister, caused her to experience a certain amount of revulsion towards her former mentor, now significant other.  The artistic divergence that she experienced, for example, might have been due to a particular emotional experience of distance.  For both artists, the experience of “peeking behind the curtain” to see another side of their mentors as their life partners could have caused the change in their work from their spouses.

 

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