Explore the influence that the photographer Guillermo Kahlo had on his daughter, the painter Frida Kahlo, through the Fototeca Nacional (National Photographic Library) collection.
He specialized in "buildings, room interiors, factories, machinery, etc.," as described in an advert he placed in the magazine "El Mundo Ilustrado" (The Illustrated World) on February 24, 1901. In around 1904, Kahlo was commissioned by the Secretary of the Treasury, José Yves Limantour, to undertake a photographic survey of federal property. The photographs would be used to create a series of albums that would be published to coincide with the centenary of Mexican independence.
It would be more than 10 years before Frida painted her father after his death. At the bottom of the painting, in the style of an ex-voto, the artist wrote a message: "I painted my father, Wilhelm Kahlo, of German-Hungarian origin; a photographic artist by profession; generous, intelligent, and refined in character, and brave because he suffered from epilepsy for 60 years but never stopped working, and he fought against Hitler. Adoringly, his daughter, Frida Kahlo."
It is unfortunate that the fame of the painter Frida Kahlo (1907–54), who captured the public's attention, overshadowed her father's extraordinary work. Guillermo Kahlo's work is housed in the Fototeca Nacional (National Photographic Library). It spans the first 3 decades of the 20th century and is the most important source of information for the study of colonial architectural heritage, and particularly religious buildings. More recently, his work has been studied from an aesthetic point of view, resulting in his contribution to Mexican photography receiving the recognition it deserves.