Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) taught herself how to paint after she was severely injured in a bus accident at the age of 18. For Kahlo, painting became an act of cathartic ritual, and her symbolic images portray a cycle of pain, death, and rebirth.
Kahlo's affair in New York City with her friend, the Hungarian-born photographer Nickolas Muray (1892-1965), which ended in 1939, and her divorce from the artist Diego Rivera at the end of the year, left her heartbroken and lonely. But she produced some of her most powerful and compelling paintings and self-portraits during this time.
Muray purchased this self-portrait from Kahlo to help her during a difficult financial period. It is part of the Ransom Center's Nickolas Muray collection of more than 100 works of modern Mexican art, which was acquired by the Harry Ransom Center in 1966. The collection also includes "Still Life with Parrott and Fruit" (1951) and the drawing "Diego y Yo" (1930) by Kahlo.
The work is part of the collections at the Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin.