Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderón (1907-1954) was a well known Mexican painter, and was the third wife of famous painter Diego Rivera. Born July 6, 1907 in Coyoacán, Mexico, she was the third of four daughters born to Guillermo Kahlo and Matilde Calderon y Gonzales.
On September 17, 1925, Frida was only 18 years old when the public transportation bus she was riding home from school in was involved in a major accident, causing very serious injury to her spine. She also had internal injuries to her shoulder and ribs, a fractured pelvis, and multiple shattered bones in her leg, and would suffer lifelong pain and problems from these injuries.
After Frida left the hospital, she was forced to remain bedridden and mostly immobile at home while healing from the spinal and pelvic injuries, and began painting. Frida's paintings seemed of the surrealistic style, but she called them realistic, and said she expressed her feelings through her paintings. Her first serious painting "Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress" (Autorretrato con Traje de Terciopelo) was completed in 1926. Many of her paintings are self portraits and still life scenes.
On August 21, 1929, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera wed, it was her first marriage, his third. She was 22 years old, he was 42. During their marriage the couple was unsuccessful in their attempts to have children, and their union ended in divorce.
Despite her physical injuries, Frida was a strong willed and independent person. Both during and after her marriage, Kahlo traveled in other parts of the world, including Europe and the United States. The first major public showing of her art was in 1931 at an exhibition in San Francisco, California, and she went on to show her work in galleries in Boston and New York, including the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art.
Over the years her physical condition continued to deteriorate, and she underwent many procedures, including bone grafts and amputation of a leg, and suffered from constant pain. In 1951, unable to walk, she began to use a wheelchair. In April of 1954 she was hospitalized with pneumonia for the second time. She died at home of pulmonary embolism on July 13, 1954 at the age of 47. In 2002 a movie was made of Frida's life story, starring actress Salma Hayek.