The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
According to Ceferino Palencia, the Spanish art critic living in exile in Mexico, Frida Kahlo’s pictorial art was an eloquent example of will in service to sensitivity. Palencia speaks of Frida’s lifelong rebellion against her mother’s violent nature. He mentions that her artistic production expresses a constant yearning for independence and freedom. He recalls that her accident in 1926 was instrumental in her decision to immerse herself in painting. The critic states that Kahlo’s œuvre reveals a powerful Surrealist influence—though she was perhaps not aware of it—referring expressly to André Breton’s statement that Surrealism was never a doctrine, it was an attitude and a presence of the spirit. In 1928, Diego Rivera began to encourage her to see in her work not merely a subtle and reluctant temperament but a shrewd observer in a constant state of rebellion. Indeed, Breton heard about Frida and her art, and was keen to know what she was painting. He described her as one of the staunchest proponents of his theory, and arranged two exhibitions of her work, in New York in 1938 and in Paris in 1939. This was Frida’s gateway to success that in turn paved the way for her to become a member of the powerful group of Surrealists.
One reason Frida Kahlo (1907–1954) was so successful in the inner circle of the visual arts world was because of the clarity of her visions, which put her in sync with her time. This article is valuable because it was written at such an early date, and because it was conceived from a European perspective highlighting her involvement with the Surrealist leader André Breton (1896–1966).