I was first drawn to Frida Kahlo for her personal style. I knew nothing about her life or art, only that her flower-adorned braids and traditional Tehuana outfits were my ideal of fabulous personal style. Though I connected instantly with Frida’s sense of colour and dress, it took me a lot longer to appreciate her paintings. In order to understand her artistic genius, you really need to know something about her life. What better place to get acquainted with México’s most famous female painter, than her former home in México City – Frida Kahlo’s La Casa Azul.
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Like many that have gone before, I misread her art as Surrealism, a movement that never really did that much for me. That changed when I picked up her biography and began to realise the truth in Frida’s own words: “They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.”
Frida’s artworks are a visual diary of her intimate thoughts and feelings. Though she painted many self-portraits, they weren’t the glossed up, trouty-pout selfies of a vein Instagrammer. They were and continue to be a raw expression of life as she experienced it, with all the beauty and ugliness of reality.
Take a walk with me through La Casa Azul – Frida’s vibrant childhood home, the place she married Diego Rivera (the first time) and spent her final days in 1954. See her art, home, studio, and garden, and if you ever go to Mexico City, see it for real!
Frida Kahlo Museum artworks
La Casa Azul contains a number of Frida’s artworks, along with works by Diego Rivera and photos taken by Nickolas Muray. Frida Kahlo Museum artworks at the time of my visit included:
- Viva La Vida “Long Live Life”, Frida Kahlo, 1954
- Retrato de la familia de Frida “Portrait of Frida’s Family”, Frida Kahlo, 1950-54
- Portrait of My Father Wilhelm Kahlo, Frida Kahlo, 1952
- Naturaleza muerta “Still Life”, Frida Kahlo, 1942
- Appearances Can Be Deceiving, Frida Kahlo, 1934
- Frida and the Caesarian Operation, Frida Kahlo, 1931
- Paleta de Colores “Palette of Colors,” Frida Kahlo, 1927-29
- La Quebrada, Diego Rivera, 1956
- Retrato de Marzia “Portrait of Marzia”, Diego Rivera, 1935
- El Despertador “The Alarm Clock”, Diego Rivera, 1914
- Landscape, Diego Rivera, 1911
Tips for visiting La Casa Azul
- Casa Azul is open Tuesday-Sunday. See holiday hours here.
- Book your tickets online in advance, otherwise, you will likely be waiting hours to get in. Time slots for the Museum are available a month in advance, so put a reminder in your calendar to book.
- If a reasonably uncrowded photo of the front of Casa Azul is important to you, go for the earliest morning time slot possible. Though the Museum restricts the number of visitors inside at any one time, the street gets crazy with long queues for tickets (those who didn’t read this and book in advance), and those waiting to enter, plus tour buses, taxis, food vendors, souvenir hawkers etc. It gets crazy out there! Below is the Museum at about 1pm.
- There is an English and Spanish language version of the website, but you can only purchase Frida Kahlo Museum tickets on the Spanish site here. Use Google’s “Translate this page” to get you through.
- If you want to take photos inside there is an additional fee of MXN30 (approx. USD1.50). No flash photography permitted.
- Video guides are available in Spanish and English for MXN80.00 (approx. USD4.00).
How to get to the Frida Kahlo Museum
La Casa Azul is located at Londres 247, Colonia Del Carmen, Coyoacán, C.P. 04100, México City. You can get there a couple of ways:
- Uber is a relatively cheap and safe way to travel in Mexico City.
- Ride Metro Line 3 to Coyoacán Viveros station and walk 15-20 minutes. The station symbol is the silhouette of a coyote.
- Take the Southside Tour route on the Turibus, which connects with Stop 4, Fuende de la Cibeles, on the Downtown (Centro Historico) route.