Though she's been dead for nearly 70 years, Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is famous around the world. She is best known for her colorful self-portraits, her bold artistic statements involving pain and passion, and her feminist activism. She is more easily recognizable than most visual artists, thanks to her own face being her main subject matter and the unibrow that served as her most prominent identifying feature. She is, in fact, arguably more well-known than her mural artist husband, Diego Rivera, who is famous in his own right.

That has not always been the case, however.

Diego Rivera was one of the most well-known artists of the early 20th century, his large-scale murals launching a revival of fresco painting in Latin America. He earned a place in a prestigious art academy in Mexico at age 10, went on to study in Spain, then settled for more than a decade in Paris. Rivera was friends with Pablo Picasso, and he lived in the U.S. for a handful of years. He painted some of his huge murals here, for the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco in 1931, the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1932, and Rockefeller Center in New York City in 1933.

While Rivera was a household name in the 1920s and 30s, Kahlo was not, despite being a prolific artist. In fact, the headline of a 1933 Detroit News article highlighting Kahlo's artistic endeavors referred to her simply as "wife of the master mural painter," patronizingly describing how she "gleefully dabbles in works of art." In hindsight, oof.

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