Originally organized by The New York Botanical Garden, this exhibition celebrates Frida Kahlo’s keen appreciation for the beauty and variety of the natural world, as evidenced by the garden and decoration of her home, the Casa Azul, as well as the complex use of plant imagery in her paintings.
In addition to still lifes and self portraits, Frida Kahlo drew and painted people, including noted horticulturist Luther Burbank. In her drawings and painting of him, he holds clustered vines with deeply serrated leaves that resemble philodendrons. This large group of tropical plants are native to the rain forests of Central and South America and significant to ancient Aztec culture.
Plants in Kahlo’s paintings could also take the form of other living creatures. Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird (1940) uses a fuchsia as a winged insect which takes flight around her head. Fuchsia is an ornamental plant native to Mexico. The tree variety has pink flowers which bloom in summer and fall and are followed by purple fruits while the small leaved variety come in a wide variety of colors ranging from white to pink and red.