Frida Kahlo's Teaching Practice

Archivo General de la Nación - México

Documents kept at the Mexican National Archives explore the artist's role as a teacher educating a new generation of artists.

The emblematic pictorial work of Frida Kahlo is one of her legacies to Mexican art of the twentieth century. Also, his incursion into teaching can be considered as another of his contributions to Mexico, by contributing to the training of future painters.

In 1929, she received her assignment as professor of the subjects of training in the section of drawing and manual works, by the Department of Fine Arts, under the Ministry of Public Education. He was 22 years old.

After marrying Diego Rivera moves to Cuernavaca, where the painter realizes the frescoes of the Palace of Cortés. For this reason, the Ministry of Public Education issues its dismissal at six months, as a teacher, "for not having resumed their work."

From 1930 until 1934, she focused on painting and traveled with Diego Rivera to various cities in the United States, who fulfilled her international commitments.

In 1943 she obtained her assignment as professor of plastic arts education level "C", in the School of Plastic Arts, with 12 hours per week.

On the back of the document, the signature stands out: "Frida Kahlo de Rivera".

When her health got worse, after 1944, Frida Kahlo reduced her teaching schedule and proposed to her students to continue with the classes at her home, now known as the Blue House, Frida Kahlo Museum. She fostered the professional growth of its disciples with exhibitions, commissioned works and courses.

In 1946 the Presidency of the Republic and the Secretariat of Public Education awarded her honorable mention in the National Prize for Science and Arts, for her work Moisés. The photograph records that moment, accompanied by José Clemente Orozco and Manuel Sandoval Vallarta.

In 1950 she entered the English Hospital where performed various surgeries of the spine. A year later she left the hospital in a wheelchair, where will remain prostrate for the following years.

Frida Kahlo dies on July 13, 1954 and the Ministry of Public Education issues a document indicating her withdrawal and turning orders to make payment of salaries to her widower, Diego Rivera.

The document subscribes that two professors of the National Institute of Fine Arts meet Diego Rivera, as husband of Frida Kahlo, in order to receive payment of their salaries and death benefits.

The art historian Raquel Tibol, in the book 'Frida Kahlo. An open life', recalls that Frida Kahlo's students obtained an education different from any other students: "Those who had the luck of having Frida Kahlo as a teacher, received much more than a didactic orientation. They were offered a way to live, to be and to think, very different from the usual, as well as national and social concerns, a unique vision of the Mexican people and, in addition, a delicious sense of humor, 'populachero' and refined at the same time".

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