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A Few Small Nips

Frida Kahlo1935

Museo Dolores Olmedo

Museo Dolores Olmedo

In 1934, Frida soon became aware of the affair going on between Diego Rivera and her sister Cristina Kahlo. Some scholars believe that the painting A Few Small Nips is related to these circumstances, in addition to its clear sense of black humor.
In this case, the subject matter of the work is the misfortune of another woman. Frida read the story in the newspaper: a man murdered his wife in a drunken rage, stabbing her several times after discovering her to be unfaithful. Taken before the judge, he said: “But all I did was give her a few small nips!”
Frida portrayed a naked, bleeding woman with her eyes half-opened and a thin stream of blood flowing from her mouth. Her killer stands beside the bed with the knife still in his hand. The clean pink wall and blue wainscoting contrast with the rest of the blood-bespattered surroundings. In the upper part of the painting there is a scroll held up by a white dove and a black swallow, in allusion perhaps to the brighter and darker aspects of love. The phrase “a few small nips” has become the title of the work.
In order to underline the dramatic effect of the painting, Frida had it framed in smooth wood, which she gouged and sprinkled with small drops of red paint. It is as though the blood was spattered outside of the limits of the frame into the world of the spectator, who becomes an eye-witness to the event.

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