Sunday, July 08, 2007
so frida kahlo wasn't jewish?
appropos of another article i was just reading, i googled frida kahlo's jewish origins, and came up with the following article from the jerusalem post in april 2006:
"Frida Kahlo's father wasn't Jewish after all
By MEIR RONNEN
Fridas Vater: Der Fotograf Guillermo Kahlo
by Gaby Franger and Rainer Huhle
For decades now, ever since an international revival of interest in the paintings and life of Mexico's Frida Kahlo, art historians and critics, including this writer, have been writing that Frida's photographer father was Jewish, possibly of Hungarian origin. A new book devoted to Guillermo Kahlo and his photography reveals that he had no Jewish genes and stemmed from a long line of German Protestants.
Frida herself was probably the source of the claims to her Jewish connection. But why?
My guess is that German connections during the Nazi era were an embarrassment to her. Communists in particular were strongly anti-Nazi and Diego Rivera, Frida's great love and sometime husband, was an active communist. So of course was the nominally Jewish founder of the Red Army, Leon Trotsky, who was Frida's lover in Mexico City before he was murdered with an ice pick, at Stalin's orders. In 1949 Frida actually wrote to her father inquiring about his origins. The letter survives.
Carl Wilhelm Kahlo was born in 1871 in Pforzheim, to Lutheran parents whose antecedents, craftsmen, soldiers, gingerbread bakers and sluice keepers, have been traced back by Gaby Franger and Rainer Huhle to the 16th century. Carl Wilhelm fell out with his family and at age 19 emigrated to Mexico, changed his name to Guillermo and began work as an accountant before discovering photography. Not all his negatives have been recovered, but he left behind a frank and unpretty record of life in Mexico at the turn of the century that is astonishingly modern in approach.
Guillermo ran a professional studio and married a woman of mixed Spanish-Indian origin, who gave her daughters an ethnic link to both the rich and poor of Mexico.
Frida and her taciturn, enigmatic father were famously concerned with themselves. Frida's favorite subject was herself (she made a trademark of her eyebrows). Guillermo's most riveting images are his self-portraits. Both father and daughter produced self-images that are silent witnesses to the tragedies of life."
we do like connecting brilliant, creative, famous people to our community, so i feel a wee bit sad when we lose one. it has, however, no effect on how much i love frida's work ... at least i think not ... :-)