What the Water Gave Me, 1938 Frida Kahlo

What the Water Gave Me 1938 Frida Kahlo

The Mexican painter did not consider portraying her face in order to express her identity at that time. In “Lo que el agua me dio”, as is typical of her, the sum of numerous elements can be much more defining and, above all, more evocative.

Roots, plants, flowers, corpses, insects, birds, and familiar people float and reflect in this primitive water world. A skyscraper (evoking her stay in New York) comes out of a volcano (one of many in her native Mexico). A small naked Frida is kept afloat in the center by means of a rope. And in the background, a bleeding toe. It’s everything her life had given her, good and bad; past, present and future.

When Andre Breton visited Mexico he saw this unfinished painting and immediately called it surrealist, offering to show the work in Paris. Frida responded: “I never knew she was a surrealist until Andre Breton came to Mexico and told me he was.”

Frida would end up giving this painting to her lover Nickolas Muray as payment for a $400 debt.

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