Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray

On view: September 24, 2022 – January 22, 2023
Opening reception: October 7, 2022 | Register >>
Location: Spotlight Gallery, Floor 1M

Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray presents an intimate look at Frida Kahlo, Mexico’s most prolific and well-known female artist, through the lens of her long-time friend and lover, photographer Nickolas Muray.

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Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) was little known outside of the art world during her lifetime. Recently, she has become a cultural icon similar to Munch’s The Scream and Michelangelo’s David. Many of the photographs captured by Muray define the mythic iconography of Kahlo, rivaling even her own self-portraiture. Fans can find the image of her face with its penetrating gaze and distinctive uni-brow on coffee mugs, tee shirts, playing cards, key chains, computer mousepads, magnets, postcards and posters. Unlike Much and Michelangelo, it is the artist herself rather than her paintings that have become the defining image.

“Photography, fortunately, to me has not only been a profession, but also a contact between people – to understand human nature and record, if possible, the best in each individual.”  -Nickolas Muray

In May 1931 photographer Nickolas Muray (1892-1965) traveled to Mexico on vacation where he met Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), a woman he would never forget. The two started a romance that continued on and off for the next ten years and a friendship that lasted until her death in 1954. Approximately fifty photographic portraits taken by Nickolas Muray of Frida Kahlo comprise the exhibition Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray. The photographs, dating from 1937 to 1946, explore Muray’s unique perspective; in the 1930s and 1940s he was Frida Kahlo’s friend, lover and confidant. Muray’s photographs bring to light Kahlo’s deep interest in her Mexican heritage, her life and the people significant to her with whom she shared a close friendship.

Nickolas Muray

Born in Hungary, Nickolas Muray became a successful New York fashion and commercial photographer known for his portraits of celebrities, politicians, socialites and artists. Having experimented with color in his work from early on, he found his most colorful model in Frida Kahlo. Muray was a prolific photographer, his archives containing over 25,000 images. Muray photographed Kahlo more than any of his other subjects. These portraits of Kahlo have made their way into a variety of media and popular culture, and are integral to the world’s understanding of who Frida Kahlo was as an individual behind her artwork.

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907, in Coyocoán, Mexico City, Mexico. Considered one of Mexico’s greatest artists, Frida Kahlo began painting after she was severely injured in a bus accident. Kahlo later became politically active and married fellow communist artist Diego Rivera in 1929. She exhibited her paintings in Paris and Mexico before her death in 1954.

This traveling exhibition has been organized through the Nickolas Muray Archives and is circulated by GuestCurator Traveling Exhibitions located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

This exhibition is made possible with support by Corning Incorporated Global Latino Organization.






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