How is the work of Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe different from and similar to that of their partners?
Georgia O'Keeffe was married to Alfred Stieglitz and Frida Kahlo was married to Diego Rivera. Both were married to artists who were famous and alraedy established artists. It could be argued that both of these woman are now better known than their husbands.
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Frida Kahlo’s work is similar to that of her husband Diego Rivera in style. They both painted in a naive style similar to that of the Mexican Folk artists. They both painted figures that have a flat quality often with bold outlines defining each figure and it’s parts. Diego was active in the communist party in Mexico, so the subject matter of many of his paintings dealt with the life and plight of the working man in Mexico. Frida on the other hand is considered to be a surrealist painter. The subject matter of her work often involved the expression of the physical and emotional pain she experienced throughout her life. She is quoted at fridakahlo.com/ as saying, “I suffered two grave accidents in my life… One in which a streetcar knocked me down and the other was Diego.” Frida painted many self portraits and many of her paintings were quite small. Her husband, on the other hand was primarily known for painting large scale murals.
Georgia O'Keeffe was a painter. Her husband Alfred Stieglitz was a photographer and gallery owner. Georgia is known for her large canvasses depicting large close-ups of flowers, many of which are said to be sexually charged and reminiscent of female sex organs. Alfred was also known for creating some sexually charged photographs many of which were portraits of O’Keeffe herself. He also created a series of plant and tree close-ups which was said to have inspired Georgia’s first flower paintings. Both Alfred and Georgia created many works depicting the landscape of New York City. Georgia soon grew tired of the city as a home and in terms of subject matter, which led to her discovery of the New Mexican desert. Alfred on the other hand loved New York and his most well known subject matter was the landscape, culture, and day to day life in his beloved city as it went through the changes associated with the turn of the century.
You asked for some additional resources: The PBS-American Masters website has a great page on both Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters. There is great info on Diego Rivera at http://www.diego-rivera.org And a great bio of Frida at http://www.fridakahlo.com.
The back of a Montana quarter has a figure by Georgia O'Keeffe, and Frida Kahlo is often on coin purses.
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