Before Frida Kahlo painted “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace,” she painted “Self-Portrait with Short Hair.” It was the first self-portrait of her after her divorce with Diego Rivera. The self-portrait represents much of the change in her life after her divorce.
In the painting, Kahlo is sitting in the center of the work. In contrast to all the other self-portraits, Kahlo’s figure is small and the focus of the work is more on the background than Kahlo. Also, Kahlo is wearing a man’s suit. The suit is dark and large, and it is possible that it was a Rivera suit. During her marriage to Rivera, Kahlo wore feminine clothing that was traditional to Mexico. After the divorce, Kahlo wore more masculine clothing to separate Diego. In addition to wearing the suit, Kahlo also cuts all of her hair. She had long hair during her marriage. Rivera really liked Kahlo’s hair. In the painting, Kahlo has scissors in her hand on the right, and part of her hair in her hand on the left. They mean that Kahlo was responsible for the change in her hair. There is part of her hair through the painting that represents the mess her life was. At the top of the painting Kahlo wrote a line from a song “Look what if I loved you, it was because of your hair, Now that you’re bald, I don’t love you anymore.” In the painting, Kahlo is not completely abandoning her femininity, she is only abandoning the feminine parts that Rivera loved. She is wearing earrings to represent a bit of her femininity. There are some who think that the self-portrait means that Kahlo wanted the independence and freedom of a man at the time.
In 1945, Edgar Kaufman Jr. gave the work to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It was the first work of Kahlo in the museum of modern art. With the museum, the painting has been exhibited throughout the world.