Among many recurring subjects in Frida Kahlo’s artwork are flowers, foliage, and fruits. She used this imagery to celebrate Mexican history and culture. The garden at her home, Casa Azul, was first started by her parents and was filled with ivy, roses, and apricot and orange trees. As an adult, Frida and her husband Diego Rivera were ardent and active participants in the Mexican Revolution and sought to celebrate Mexican culture in a number of ways—through dress, through food, and through their home and garden.
Frida and Diego transformed Casa Azul from its original colonial style into a structural embodiment of their cultural values. They painted the house in its signature blue called azul anil (believed to ward off evil spirits) and expanded the courtyard and gardens. They also incorporated native Mexican plants like agave, yucca, dahlias, cacti, and bougainvillea into their garden. Over time, elements from the garden would make their way into her portraits and still life paintings. “I paint flowers so they will not die,” she once said. Frida also created elaborate arrangements of flowers throughout their home and almost always wore flowers, woven through her hair.
At Casa Azul, Frida’s bedroom and studio were connected via a hallway that opens onto the garden. Toward the end of her life, Frida asked to have her bed moved into the hallway so that she could look out over her garden. Take a virtual tour of Frida’s Casa Azul gardens here. They are stunning.
P.S.: The Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, planted a green space in tribute to Kahlo’s as part of the current exhibition, Frida Kahlo at the Dalí, which runs through April 17.
And if you haven’t had a chance, visit our Journal for a series of posts about Frida, including:
Image of Frida in her garden from NBC News.