We're lucky to have this painting of Frida and Diego in the Bay Area. It is usually housed at SFMOMA; however, since the museum is closed for renovation, it is on loan right now to the Oakland Museum. Frida's painting is part of an exhibition called Fertile Ground: Art and Community in California. The exhibition shows how artists working in California were influenced by personal relationships and the historical/social context. It runs through April 12th. I haven't seen it yet, but I plan to go. I'll blog about the exhibition once I've seen it.
Certainly, Frida's painting was influenced by how she was perceived in San Francisco as the wife of the famed Diego Rivera. He's presented as the artist with his palette and brushes prominently displayed. He also dominates the composition with his his large size; however, Frida shines in her beautiful emerald green dress highlighted by her striking red shawl, green jadeite necklace, gold earrings and beautiful hair tie. Notice how her hand is on top of his. Who's in control? She may have been perceived as the "wife," but let's not forget that she is the one who painted this double portrait, often referred to as the "marriage portrait." And, the ribbon in the dove's mouth that hovers above the couple reminds us that Frida is the painter.
© Celia S. Stahr 2014