Frida Kahlo. Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair. 1940

Frida Kahlo

Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair

1940

Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
15 3/4 x 11" (40 x 27.9 cm)
Credit
Gift of Edgar Kaufmann, Jr.
Object number
3.1943
Copyright
© 2017 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Department
Painting and Sculpture
This work is not on view.
Frida Kahlo has 3 works online.
There are 2,371 paintings online.

Kahlo painted Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair shortly after she divorced her unfaithful husband, the artist Diego Rivera. As a painter of many self- portraits, she had often shown herself wearing a Mexican woman's traditional dresses and flowing hair; now, in renunciation of Rivera, she painted herself short haired and in a man's shirt, shoes, and oversized suit (presumably her former husband's).

Kahlo knew adventurous European and American art, and her own work was embraced by the Surrealists, whose leader, André Breton, described it as "a ribbon around a bomb." But her stylistic inspirations were chiefly Mexican, especially nineteenth-century religious painting, and she would say, "I do not know if my paintings are Surrealist or not, but I do know that they are the most frank expression of myself." The queasily animate locks of fresh-cut hair in this painting must also be linked to her feelings of estrangement from Rivera (whom she remarried the following year), and they also have the dreamlike quality of Surrealism. For, into the work she has written the lyric of a Mexican song: "Look, if I loved you it was because of your hair. Now that you are without hair, I don't love you anymore."

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 181

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