365 Days of Art: July 23 – Frida Writes Letter to Diego After His Affair with Her Sister

Frida Kahlo, A Few Small Nips, 1935
July 23, 1934

Frida writes a letter to Diego, who has been carrying on an affair with her sister Cristina for about a year:

…all these letters, liaisons with petticoats, lady teachers of “English”, gypsy models, assistants with “good intentions”, “plenipotentiary emissaries from distant places”, only represent flirtations, and that at bottom you and I love each other dearly, and thus go through adventures without number, beating on doors, imprecations, insults, international claims–yet we will always love each other…

All these things have been repeated throughout the seven years that we have lived together, and all the rages I have gone through have served only to make me understand in the end that I love you more than my own skin, and that, though you may not love me in the same way, still you love me somewhat. Isn’t that so?…I shall always hope that that continues, and with that I am content.

The painting above is one of only two paintings she makes all year. (The year before, she makes none at all). The immediate subject matter is a true-crime story of a man who kills his wife; the not-too-subtle metaphor is how Frida feels emotionally slaughtered by Diego’s betrayal. The only other painting she makes all year is the tiniest one she’ll ever paint, a self-portrait with short, curly hair. In real life, she’s chopped off the long hair that Diego loves so much, and these two paintings taken together show how raw her wounds are.

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