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Coconuts

Frida Kahlo1951

Museo de Arte Moderno

Museo de Arte Moderno

Frida's self-referential work is an important artistic document within the iconographic universe developed by this Mexican artist—the best-known on the international stage. It reveals the environment that she built to define her own identity and construct her most valued interests. Frida worked on the genre of still life during the 1940s, concentrating more intently on it during the 1950s, which were to be the last years of her life. She did this as a way of counterbalancing her sorrow at her deteriorating physical condition, using vivid objects, full of color, that also highlighted her nationalist views. In "Los cocos" (Coconuts), she subtly expresses her own state of mind in a detail hidden among the 3 pairs of fruits—watermelons, oranges, and coconuts—which feature in several of her paintings in this genre. Here, Frida gives one of the coconuts a personality, depicting its 3 holes as a tearful face, in a subtle and very Mexican play on words that alludes to another of her still lifes, featuring crying coconuts. As the writer Salomon Grimberg notes, the tears of the coconut ("coco" in Spanish) are a play on the phrase "lágrimas de cocodrilo" or "crocodile tears," meaning that they are not genuine. The close, detailed framing of the arrangement shows a certain self-absorption, and a particular interest in "losing herself" in the explosion of color and vitality of the fruits, in order to exorcise her existential pain in a slightly ironic manner. This oil painting was painted at her house in Coyoacán in the year that she left the Hospital Inglés (ABC Medical Center) in Mexico City and permanently separated from Diego Rivera.

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Details

  • Title: Coconuts
  • Creator: Frida Kahlo
  • Date Created: 1951
  • Rights: © 2018 Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust. Av. 5 de Mayo No. 2, Col. Centro, Del Cuauhtémoc, C.P. 06000, Mexico, City. Reproducción autorizada por el Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura, 2018.

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