What was life like for the artist of the original famous Frida Kahlo paintings? Based on quotes by Frida Kahlo, her life was full of difficulties and disease. However, it was these very difficulties that would spurn her to create the incredible art that she did. By gaining an understanding of this collection of Frida Kahlo quotes, we also get a deeper insight into the mind of this fascinating woman, allowing us to answer questions like “why is Frida Kahlo important?” and many more.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Was Frida Kahlo Famous?
- 2 Famous Frida Kahlo Quotes
- 2.1 Quotes by Frida Kahlo about Pain and Art
- 2.2 Quotes by Frida Kahlo About Love and Relationships
- 2.3 Frida Kahlo’s Feminist Quotes
- 2.4 Frida Kahlo Quotes About Her Paintings
- 2.5 Philosophical Frida Kahlo Quotes
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
Why Was Frida Kahlo Famous?
Frida Kahlo was an artist that had to endure many hardships in her life. Being a Mexican female meant that she was already in several marginalized categories from birth. She was also inflicted with illnesses and misfortune, having contracted polio at a very young age, leaving her with legs of unequal length. Then, 12 years later, she was involved in a terrible road accident that involved a bus that led to her being bedridden for many months due to her spine and pelvis being fractured.
It was during this dark period of solitude that she turned to art as a form of escape and expression. However, she still became a famous artist despite (or maybe because of) all these challenges.
A photo of Frida Kahlo, 1932; Guillermo Kahlo, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Original famous Frida Kahlo paintings are highly valued in the art world. Not only did her art depict her innermost struggles as a woman, but also the embrace of her traditional heritage and customs as a Mexican. She was actually half Mexican, so much of her art dealt with coming to terms with her dualistic character in many aspects of her personality – from her diverse cultural background to her life roles as an artist and lover, and even her sexual desires.
Why Is Frida Kahlo Important Today?
Through her personal experiences and her artwork, she has set an example to people across many lines of social separation and distinction. Instead of denying her heritage, she embraced it. Instead of letting her misfortunes dictate her life, she allowed them to be fuel for her passion. In a time when women and Mexicans were not often heard, she used her intimate self-portraits to reflect her inner self back at society, allowing society to reflect on its innermost self.
Famous Frida Kahlo Quotes
Many quotes by Frida Kahlo are not only good advice but also deeply insightful glances into the artist’s intense thoughts. From Frida Kahlo’s feminist quotes to quotes about love and art, her painful life has resulted in much wisdom and knowledge that we can learn from and use to curate our own reality. Let us now look at some famous Frida Kahlo quotes that shed light on the life of this tenacious individual. Not only did Frida Kahlo give us many profound quotes, but she is also quoted by other artists.
André Breton said in his book on the surrealist movement, that “The art of Frida Kahlo is a ribbon around a bomb.”
Quotes by Frida Kahlo about Pain and Art
It is impossible to understand Kahlo’s art without understanding the suffering that prompted it. The one was a result of the other, and without her challenges, maybe she would never have discovered art or would never have needed a medium through which to express her pain.
“Since my subjects have always been my sensations, my states of mind and the profound reactions that life has been producing in me, I have frequently objectified all this in figures of myself, which were the most sincere and real thing that I could do in order to express what I felt inside and outside of myself.”
“They sit for hours in the cafes, warming their precious behinds and talk without stopping about culture, art, revolution and so on and so forth, thinking themselves the gods of the world, dreaming the most fantastic nonsense and poisoning the air with theories and theories that never come true.”
“Pain, pleasure, and death are no more than a process for existence. The revolutionary struggle in this process is a doorway open to intelligence.”
“Painting completed my life. I lost three children and a series of other things that would have fulfilled my horrible life. My painting took the place of all of this. I think work is the best.”
“I must fight with all my strength so that the little positive things that my health allows me to do might be pointed toward helping the revolution. The only real reason for living.”
“My painting contains in it the message of pain. I think that at least a few people are interested in it. It’s not revolutionary. Why keep wishing for it to be belligerent? I can’t.”
“A despair which no words can describe. I’m still eager to live. I’ve started to paint again. A little picture to give to Dr. Farill on which I’m working with all my love. I feel uneasy about my painting.”
“We like being sick to protect ourselves. Someone – something – always protects us from the truth – Our own ignorance and fear. Fear of everything – fear of knowing that we are no more than vectors, direction, construction and destruction to be alive.”
“I tried to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learned how to swim, and now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good feeling.”
“I was a child who went about in a world of colors. My friends, my companions, became women slowly; I became old in instants.”
“The most powerful art is to make pain a healing talisman.”
Quotes by Frida Kahlo About Love and Relationships
Unfortunately, turmoil did not only exist in her daily life of physical struggles but also in matters of the heart. Despite her family’s displeasure, she married Diego Rivera in her early twenties. He was 20 years Frida’s senior, but her dad believed the union would be a suitable match. And besides, Riviera was one of Mexico’s most accomplished painters, a prominent member of Mexican politics, and he could comfortably afford to sustain Frida, who couldn’t work and was always in need of costly healthcare treatment.
A cropped photograph of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo; Unknown author Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Diego’s notoriety as a ladies’ man dogged him, but Kahlo still loved him despite the fact that he had strayed on her with numerous women. She ultimately became tired of him after learning that Riviera had an encounter with her younger sibling. Kahlo suffered gangrene shortly after the couple split and had her right leg removed at the knee. She suffered from acute depression, which led to binge drinking. Nonetheless, expressing genuine emotion via art helped her above all cope with her situation.
“You deserve a lover who makes you feel safe, who can consume this world whole if he walks hand in hand with you; someone who believes that his embraces are a perfect match with your skin.”
“You deserve a lover who wants you disheveled, with everything and all the reasons that wake you up in haste and the demons that won’t let you sleep.”
“The most interesting thing about the so-called lies of Diego is that, sooner or later, the ones involved in the imaginary tale get angry, not because of the lies, but because of the truth contained in the lies, which always comes forth.”
“I leave you my portrait so that you will have my presence all the days and nights that I am away from you.”
“I cannot speak of Diego as my husband because that term, when applied to him, is an absurdity. He never has been, nor will he ever be, anybody’s husband.”
“I warn you that in this picture I am painting of Diego there will be colors which even I am not fully acquainted with. Besides, I love Diego so much I cannot be an objective speculator of him or his life.”
“All this anger has simply made me understand better that I love you more than my own skin, and that even though you don’t love me as much, you love me a little anyway — don’t you? If this is not true, I’ll always be hopeful that it could be, and that’s enough for me.”
“I don’t want anything to hurt him, nothing to bother him and rob him of the energy he needs for living, for living as he likes, for painting, seeing, loving, eating, sleeping, being by himself, being with someone…but I’d never want him to be sad. If I had good health, I would give him all of it, if I had youth, he could take it all.”
“Perhaps it is expected that I should lament about how I have suffered living with a man like Diego. But I do not think that the banks of a river suffer because they let the river flow, nor does the earth suffer because of the rains, nor does the atom suffer for letting its energy escape. To my way of thinking, everything has its natural compensation.”
“My blood is a miracle that, from my veins, crosses the air in my heart into yours.”
“It was a lonely flower, joyful butterfly you landed there; then the pollen of another, more fragrant flower called, and the butterfly flew away.”
“Take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are a bourbon biscuit.”
“There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.”
Frida Kahlo’s Feminist Quotes
Frida Kahlo, a feminist, activist, and painter, has encouraged decades of females to think for themselves. Her art, knowledge, and charisma have caused women to sit up and take notice, inspiring them to achieve much more in their professions and lives. Even though she died more than a century ago, her legacy lives on throughout the history of the world’s feminist movement.
Her grief, suffering, and words inspired many women to reconsider how they tackle life in the face of adversity. Her path was filled with both severe agony and incredible ingenuity.
Amidst her sorrow, Kahlo found power in her anguish, which she used to inspire her poems and artworks. Even now, the great painter remains an idol to youthful females. Kahlo was fearless, fiery, and compassionate. Despite sorrow and pain, these Frida Kahlo quotes infuse us with determination, motivation, and the will to accomplish more with our life. Kahlo’s endless energy is represented in her statements and beliefs, which are highly important to every one of us.
“I am my own muse, I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.”
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”
“I was born a bitch, I was born a painter.”
“Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.”
“It’s not possible to present an accurate picture of our culture without all the voices of the people in the culture. So at the emerging level, you can’t have a good survey art show without women and artists of color.”
“I am nothing but a “small damned” part of a revolutionary movement. Always revolutionary, never dead, never useless.”
“The most important part of the body is the brain. Of my face, I like the eyebrows and eyes.”
Frida Kahlo Quotes About Her Paintings
Kahlo painted art using vivid colors in a manner informed by Mexican native traditions as well as European elements such as Surrealism, Symbolism, and Realism. Most of her paintings are self-portraits in which she expresses her personal anguish and sexuality metaphorically. These art quotes by Frida Kahlo give us a broader perspective of her outlook as a producer of these revealing and intimate artworks.
“I wish I could do whatever I liked behind the curtain of ‘madness. Then: I’d arrange flowers, all day long, I’d paint; pain, love, and tenderness, I would laugh as much as I feel like at the stupidity of others, and they would all say: ‘Poor thing, she’s crazy!’ (Above all I would laugh at my own stupidity.) I would build my world which while I lived, would be in agreement with all the worlds. The day, or the hour, or the minute that I lived would be mine and everyone else’s – my madness would not be an escape from reality.”
“Really, I do not know whether my paintings are surrealist or not, but I do know that they are the frankest expression of myself.”
“I paint flowers so they will not die.”
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“To paint is the most terrific thing that there is, but to do it well is very difficult.”
“I put on the canvas whatever comes into my mind.”
“My paintings are well-painted, not nimbly but patiently.”
“Surrealism is the magical surprise of finding a lion in a wardrobe, where you were ‘sure’ of finding shirts.”
“I don’t paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.”
“I have never expected anything from my work but the satisfaction I could get from it by the very fact of painting and saying what I couldn’t say otherwise.”
Philosophical Frida Kahlo Quotes
Frida Kahlo exemplifies the concept that it is our ethical responsibility to use our tragedies to create something positive and beneficial. This could be achieved whether it is with artistry, assisting others, or our own personal enlightenment. Kahlo recreated all of her grief in her work, turning it into a bigger narrative about what it is to be a female.
“There isn’t enough time there, isn’t enough nothing. There is only reality. What once was is long gone! What remains are the transparent roots appearing transformed into an eternal fruit tree. Your fruits already give scent, your flowers give color blooming in the joy of wind and flowers.”
“To trap one’s self-suffering is to risk being devoured from the inside.”
“Through the round numbers and the colored nerves, the stars are made and the worlds are sounds.”
“You didn’t understand what I am. I am love. I am pleasure. I am essence. I am an idiot. I am tenacious. I am. I simply am.”
“What I wanted to express very clearly and intensely was that the reason these people had to invent or imagine heroes and gods is pure fear. Fear of life and fear of death.”
“This upper class is disgusting and I’m furious at all these rich people here, having seen thousands of people in abject squalor.”
“I drank to drown my sorrows, but the damned things learned how to swim.”
“Don’t build a wall around your suffering. It may devour you from the inside.”
“Your word travels the entirety of space and reaches my cells which are my stars then goes to yours which are my light.”
“The most important thing for everyone in Gringolandia is to have ambition and become ‘somebody,’ and frankly, I don’t have the least ambition to become anybody.”
“High society here turns me off and I feel a bit of rage against all these rich guys here, since I have seen thousands of people in the most terrible misery without anything to eat and with no place to sleep, that is what has most impressed me here, it is terrifying to see the rich having parties day and night while thousands and thousands of people are dying of hunger…”
“It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light. Tragedy is the most ridiculous thing.”
We hope you have enjoyed our essential list of Frida Kahlo quotes. These quotes have given us a thorough look at the incredible mind of this talented woman. These insightful quotes by Frida Kahlo have helped answer the question “Why was Frida Kahlo famous?”
Frequently Asked Questions
What Was Frida Kahlo Famous For?
Original famous Frida Kahlo paintings are extremely valuable in the art world. Her work not only depicted her innermost problems as a woman, but also her acceptance of her traditional Mexican history and customs. Because she was half Mexican, much of her art dealt with reconciling her dual nature in many parts of her life, from her unique cultural heritage to her life roles as artist and lover, and even her sexual urges.
Why Is Frida Kahlo Important as an Artist?
She has provided an ideal to individuals across various boundaries of social division and distinction via her own experiences and her paintings. Rather than disavow her ancestry, she welcomed it. Instead of allowing her tragedies to control her life, she turned them into fuel for her enthusiasm. She utilized her personal self-portraits to mirror her inner self back at society, allowing society to reflect on its innermost self at a period when women and Mexicans were not commonly heard.
Isabella studied at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English Literature & Language and Psychology. Throughout her undergraduate years, she took Art History as an additional subject and absolutely loved it. Building on from her art history knowledge that began in high school, art has always been a particular area of fascination for her. From learning about artworks previously unknown to her, or sharpening her existing understanding of specific works, the ability to continue learning within this interesting sphere excites her greatly.
Her focal points of interest in art history encompass profiling specific artists and art movements, as it is these areas where she is able to really dig deep into the rich narrative of the art world. Additionally, she particularly enjoys exploring the different artistic styles of the 20th century, as well as the important impact that female artists have had on the development of art history.
Cite this Article
Isabella, Meyer, “Frida Kahlo Quotes – Life Lessons from the Profound Frida Kahlo.” Art in Context. October 26, 2021. URL: https://artincontext.org/frida-kahlo-quotes/
Meyer, I. (2021, 26 October). Frida Kahlo Quotes – Life Lessons from the Profound Frida Kahlo. Art in Context. https://artincontext.org/frida-kahlo-quotes/