July 5, 2007 / 12:34 AM / 11 years ago

Mexico art show reveals secrets of Frida and Diego

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A collection of letters, photos and personal effects belonging to Mexican artistic couple Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo will go on display in Mexico City this Friday after 50 years hidden from view.

A general view shows paintings from Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, during a preview tour of a new exhibition at the Casa Azul Museum in Mexico City July 4, 2007. The collection of letters, photos and personal effects belonging to Mexican artistic couple Rivera and Kahlo will go on display in Mexico City this Friday after 50 years hidden from view. REUTERS/Henry Romero

The archive contains thousands of letters detailing their tortured relationship and numerous infidelities, including Kahlo’s reported affair with exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky.

Married twice, Kahlo, who died in 1954, and Rivera, whose death followed three years later, are among Mexico’s most famous artists.

A visitor looks at paintings from Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera during a preview tour of a new exhibition at the Casa Azul Museum in Mexico City July 4, 2007. The collection of letters, photos and personal effects belonging to Mexican artistic couple Rivera and Kahlo will go on display in Mexico City this Friday after 50 years hidden from view. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Kahlo, who was crippled in a tram accident as a teenager, focused on themes of female suffering and mutilation. Rivera’s murals portraying capitalism, communism and imperialism in Mexican history adorn Mexico City’s National Palace.

Rivera requested that the collection not be made public until 15 years after the Kahlo’s death.

“Diego left instructions that any information that could cause scandal in Mexican public life be kept secret,” the exhibition’s curator, Ricardo Perez, told journalists.

Dolores Olmedo, an art patron to whom Rivera entrusted the collection, decided that the artifacts should remain private until after she herself died. She passed away in 2002.

Slideshow (3 Images)

Titled “Treasures of the Blue House, Frida and Diego” and housed in Mexico City’s Frida Kahlo Museum, the exhibition will run from July 6 until September 30 as part of celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of Kahlo’s birth.

It contains about 100 of the 22,105 documents contained in the archives and 50 photographs never before seen in public.

As well as the couple’s love life, the show includes details of their militancy as communists and links to politicians of the times including Soviet leader Josef Stalin.

Kahlo’s reputation has bloomed in the last decade, with shows within Mexico and internationally. Her ambiguous sexuality and preoccupation with overtly female themes have made her a feminist of world renown.

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