Nickolas Muray, Frida Kahlo with Olmec figurine, 1939.
Photo: Nickolas Muray, © Nickolas Muray photo archives

Take a First Look at Frida Kahlo’s Personal Collection

200 objects are leaving Mexico to go on view at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum
Nickolas Muray, Frida Kahlo on a bench, carbon-print, 1938. Photo: Nickolas Muray, © Nickolas Muray photo archives

With her piercing gaze, flower-adorned coiffures, and bold sartorial choices, Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907–1954) made herself instantly recognizable. After her death, her husband, muralist Diego Rivera, locked her personal effects in her Mexico City bathroom, stipulating they remain sealed for 15 years after his own death.

His wish was forgotten, however, and her belongings remained there for more than five decades. Leaving Mexico for the first time ever, this trove of some 200 objects goes on view at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum beginning June 16 in “Making Her Self Up.”

Recommended: The Ultimate Art and Design Guide to Mexico City

Kahlo’s Tehuana skirts, hand-painted corsets, pre-Columbian jewelry, and letters are complemented by her self-portraits and the photographs Nickolas Muray took of her, such as the one at left. Here is a selection of the objects that will be on view through November 4.

Necklace made by Matilde Poulat, Mexico City, c. 1950. Photo: Javier Hinojosa. Courtesy of Museo Frida Kahlo

 

Guatemalan cotton coat worn with Mazatec huipil and plain floor length skirt. Photo: Courtesy of Museo Frida Kahlo

 

Revlon compact and powderpuff with blusher in ‘Clear-Red,’ Revlon lipstick in ‘Everything’s Rosy,’ emery boards, and eyebrow pencil in ‘Ebony’. Before 1954. Photo: Javier Hinojosa. Museo Frida Kahlo

 

Prosthetic leg with leather boot featuring appliquéd silk fabric with embroidered Chinese motifs. Photo: Javier Hinojosa. Museo Frida Kahlo
Cotton huipil with machine embroidered chain stitch printed cotton skirt with embroidery and holán ruffle. Photo: Courtesy of Museo Frida Kahlo and the Victoria and Albert Museum

A version of this article first appeared in print in our Summer 2018 Issue in the section called The Artful Life. Subscribe to the magazine.

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