“Self-Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky, 1937,” by celebrated Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, was her birthday gift to the Russian politician. Kahlo (1907 – 1954) and husband Diego Rivera took Trotsky and his wife into their home after Joseph Stalin chased them into exile. Kahlo and Trotsky began a secret affair, which Kahlo soon ended, although she presented Trotsky with this self-portrait on his birthday. Trotsky left the painting behind when he moved out of Kahlo’s house, and the piece is now featured in Washington, D.C.’s National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954) was a legendary Mexican painter whose striking artworks reflected a lifetime of unbearable pain, emotional upheaval and her volatile marriage to artist Diego Rivera. Surviving polio, Kahlo was 18 when she was seriously injured in a devastating bus accident, and began painting in bed while she slowly recovered. Kahlo endured a lifetime of operations and a partial amputation of her right leg, conveying her agony through stark self-portraits that were deliberately Naïve and influenced by the Mexican folk art she loved. Kahlo created more than 200 artworks in her short life, and was the first woman to sell a painting to the esteemed Louvre in Paris.