Landmark Frida Kahlo exhibition opens in the Netherlands

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Landmark Frida Kahlo exhibition opens in the Netherlands
Frida Kahlo, Henry Ford Hospital, 1932, oil on metal, Museo Dolores Olmedo, Mexico City © 2021 Banco de México, Ciudad de México/ reproduction courtesy of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura, 2021.

ASSEN.- From 8 October 2021 to 27 March 2022, the Drents Museum in the Netherlands (1907-1954) will bring together for the very first time two of the world’s leading Frida Kahlo collections for the major exhibition devoted to the iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Viva la Frida! - Life and Art of Frida Kahlo showcases an unparalleled joint presentation of Frida Kahlo's art and her personal effects such as clothes, painted corsets and jewellery. The Drents Museum has collaborated with the Museo Dolores Olmedo and the Museo Frida Kahlo (formerly La Casa Azul, The Blue House) in Mexico City in a unique partnership which offers the Dutch museum the unique opportunity to tell the complete Frida Kahlo story.

Masterpieces from the Olmedo Collection

The Museo Dolores Olmedo in Mexico City boasts the largest collection of Frida Kahlo's work in the world and is making available its entire Kahlo holdings. Dolores Olmedo (1908-2002) was a close friend and the heiress of Kahlo’s husband, the artist Diego Rivera. Dolores Olmedo was committed to preserving Mexican art and, under Rivera's guidance, she acquired a large number of key pieces by Frida Kahlo. Highlights from this collection – such as Kahlo’s Henry Ford Hospital (1932), The Broken Column (1944) and Self-Portrait with Monkey (1945) – are coming to Assen.

Personal Belongings from The Blue House

Thanks to the Museo Frida Kahlo, visitors to Viva la Frida! can admire not only clothes, painted corsets and jewellery, but also photos, documents and drawings related to the artist. In 2004, many of Kahlo and Rivera's possessions were found in La Casa Azul, or The Blue House (now the Museo Frida Kahlo) after being hidden from view for 50 years. After careful research and conservation this exceptional collection was opened to the public in 2007.

Indelible Impression

Frida Kahlo made an indelible impression with her bold sense of beauty and ideals of equality for all. A tragic bus accident left Kahlo in great pain and requiring numerous operations. Although her life was largely defined by misfortune, she managed to transform her suffering and emotional struggle into extraordinary works of art. What gave her the strength to go on was her great love for art, for Diego Rivera, and for Mexico and its popular folk culture. Young and old people all over the world still draw strength and inspiration from her art and life story.

Programme of Activities and Online Opening

In addition to the exhibition, the Drents Museum is organising an extensive programme of activities with a series of guest lectures, a festival, a podcast series, and an event around the Mexican holiday Día de Muertos (All Souls' Day, 2 November). For this, the Drents Museum is working together with Eva Koreman, Hedy d'Ancona, Cathelijne Blok, Redouan Ait Chitt, Gerda Lenten Havertong, and Nadia Moussaid, among others. Viva la Frida officially opens on Thursday afternoon, 7 October 2021. The Drents Museum is aiming for a grand opening of the exhibition with an exciting online programme featuring interviews alternating with fashion, dance, music and a virtual tour.

Viva la Frida!

In Assen, dozens of personal belongings and 42 artworks by Frida Kahlo will soon be on display in the large exhibition hall, including 28 paintings and 14 works on paper. The short film Meet Frida will be screened in the Abdijkerk (Abbey Church). The exhibition and the accompanying book Viva la Frida! - Life and Art of Frida Kahlo (WBOOKS, 2021) shed new light on Frida Kahlo's world and how culture, politics, gender, disability and national identity influenced her life, her style, and her taboo-breaking art.

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