Frida Kahlo: Torment and Triumph in Her Life and Art Analysis

Malka Drucker

Form and Content

This biography examines the life of an artist who was the daughter of a German-Hungarian Jewish father and a Spanish-Indian mother, was brought up as a Catholic, withstood a childhood bout with polio, was twice married to the same philandering genius, had affairs with an exiled Communist revolutionary leader and a famous Japanese American sculptor, became a dedicated Communist, and suffered for the rest of her life of forty-seven years from a serious bus and streetcar accident that she experienced at eighteen.

Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón, better known as Frida Kahlo, was a five-foot, one-hundred-pound, diminutive woman with joined eyebrows and a suspicion of hair above her upper lip who constantly enchanted and confused people with her dualities and contradictions: her intellect and sensuality, her daintiness and toughness, her pain and joy.

Malka Drucker’s Frida Kahlo was written for the Barnard Biography Series, the purpose of which is to profile heroic women, providing girls with role models for creativity and other desirable qualities. Kahlo was selected as such an individual, despite her status as a self-styled martyr and lifelong invalid whose leg was finally amputated a year before her death from pneumonia. She was a high-spirited flirt and a rebellious “bad girl” who would often misstate her birth date to make it coincide with the beginning of the Mexican Revolution of 1910.