In Nickolas Muray’s (Hungarian-born American photographer)1939 portrait of painter Frida Kahlo a crown of purple yarn weaves in and out of her thick black hair, flyaways break loose from her braids. Her favorite shawl, a deep magenta rebozo wraps around her shoulders matching the warm flush of her cheeks and her painted nails—glints of red that call attention to her strong hands. She leans comfortably against a wall gazing resolutely if not lovingly at the camera.

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Muray and Kahlo were at the height of their on-again off-again ten-year relationship when these pictures were taken. Their affair had started in 1931 after Muray was divorced from his second wife and shortly after Kahlo’s marriage to Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. It outlived Muray’s third marriage and Kahlo’s divorce and remarriage to Rivera by one year, ending in 1941. They remained good friends until her death in 1954.

Frida

In the portrait she wears
a coral shawl across her shoulders.
Terracotta lips are set in granite.
Her eyes are the color of the earth,
they scream the anguish of the world.
Her image is etched into tapestry
hung from nails on a farmhouse wall.
She is captured by the hand
of a woman uprising
She is proud
she is Mexico.

poetry by Holly Rene Hunter

116 thoughts on “Frida Kahlo and Nickolas Muray

  1. A beautifully written poignancy filled verse ..each word is fabulously written, Holly. I fav this. Frida has always fascinated me. I have read her biography .. watched a movie about her and this is the best I have read in a long time. Awesome 👏

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    1. Yassy, you are incredibly generous and kind, I’m so glad you like the poetry. I’ve been fascinated by Kahlo for many years, her life was fascinating, thrilling, and filled with suffering.

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      1. I am glad you wrote this wonderful poem about her. I have to thank you , Rene. I love this. I read it again and I will so now.
        Goodbye and safe weekend to you , Holly.

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        1. Indeed, there’s an excellent movie “Frida”. Starring Salma Hayek as Frida, she does such an excellent portrayal of her. I recommend it Erika if you get the chance. I know you’ve been busy as a bee lately. Take care , sending hugs. 🤗

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          1. It is definitely on my list, Holly. I think Salma Hayek is the perfect actress when I look at the photo and painting. Thanks a lot for the tip. I will check if it is on Netflix 😊

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  2. Brilliant tribute to a fascinating artist 🙂
    ‘Terracotta lips are set in granite.
    Her eyes are the color of the earth,
    they scream the anguish of the world.’
    Such gorgeous lines that really leap off the page & paint such a vivid picture – another masterpiece! ❤

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    1. Tom, Your generosity is lovely, thank you so much. My poem subtly references the intractable pain suffered by Frida , still her life was extraordinary to put it mildly. Thank you dear Tom ❤️

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  3. I can’t speak for her, but I think Frida would have adored this, Holly! I adore it!

    I have a street art of Frida I’ve been wanting to post. Thing is; it is tied up into the band Daft Punk, by the artist. I don’t really like their music. The artist is more commercial.
    Not sure how to present that, but Frida has been on my mind. I feel her art growing into our contemporary society. Her art will be as valuable as Picasso’s and other unattainable artists, very soon. Diego’s art will not measure to hers in the auction houses.
    xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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    1. I would love to see the street art of Frida Resa, I hope you find a way to post it soon. Presently Rivera’s painting “The Rivals” sold at auction for $9.76 million becoming the highest priced Latin American artwork ever to be sold at auction. Wow! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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  4. ‘There’ll be no more lies, no more tears
    No more listening through the fat man’s ears’ I read your wonderful words and then I went and listened to a song called Frida Kahlo’s visit to the Taybridge Bar,’ these words there are from. It was by a Dundee singer Michael Marra–big in Scotland– and surreally imagined what if her spirit had visited his local.
    ‘Her eyes are the color of the earth,’ Just lovely.

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    1. That is amazing, I love that, I must find the song. I really get that, Diego Rivera was a notorious womanizer and Frida’s affair with Muray began shortly after she learned of his having had an affair with her sister. A touché if you will. Thank you you Shey, lovely comment .

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      1. But it’s a lovely post. Marra could have had a far bigger career but turned his back on London and the record company to create a more local niche, but he worked extensively with many famous musicians, wrote for the stage etc. His daughter who is dedicated to keeping his memory alive runs a semi professional choir and they and she sung in the Mr’s play about Dundee. She also is the lead singer in a band called the Hazey Janes that’s pretty good. And was good enough to come sing Damien Rice’s Cannonball for my younger girl to walk down the aisle to last year. She has a voice like an angel.

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        1. That’s a wonderful song and tribute to Kahlo. I really love it. He has a wonderful voice , that’s amazing that his daughter sang at your sisters wedding. It’s fabulous. I’m sorry he’s not around to make more awesome music but such a lovely legacy. ❤️

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          1. Yeah, unfortunately he died a few years back. We used a lot of his songs in that play because so many are about Dundee which was why Alice wanted to be involved. And it was wonderful of her to sing. It was my younger girl’s wedding. (I don’t think she’d have sung at my sisters cos of course no-one would be a patch on herself….Although equally the best man at my sister’s was none other than the then not famou Albert Watson. ) But Alice’s voice is stunning. Thank you for listening. It is quite an unusual song and I like the way it catches her love of colors, vibrancy, culture, and life I guess.

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          2. He has a wonderful way of conveying emotions through the Timbre of his voice. A Very moving song and I can relate the subtle inferences to Kahlo’s passionate zest for life and her suffering of physical and emotional pain. A lovely tribute to her. It really seems your sister had an amazing wedding … unforgettable! Thank you so much Shey!

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  5. Frida was definitely her own, living her life passionately. Thank you for your sharing part of her story and your beautiful poem to compliment it.

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  6. Another excellent snapshot of Frida. She was another creative soul living life her own way well ahead of her times. To think she suffered continuous pain, yet remained true to her art and led a productive life.

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  7. How wonderful. She was a simple and complex woman and you have captured that beautifully. I love her wildness, her thirst for freedom and the fact that she fought for what she believed in. This is a beautiful tribute to an incredible woman. Takes one to know one, as they say…you’re the one, Holly.

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  8. She was quite a woman and ahead of her time. I can’t remember the name of the movie about her life, but it’s stuck with me. Thanks for the glimpse of history, beautiful prose and poetry, Holly. A lovely tribute. ❤

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  9. Love the colour portrait, as the B&W photo, where she wears trousers… Not that many photos like that. I already have two posts on Frida and Diego in the pipe-line. Should come out soon.
    I’m glad you still are in my mail. Don’t know what happened last week.
    Have a lovely week-end Coeur de Feu.

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