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"Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism" in Tulsa, Oklahoma US

06 July 2022 | 11 September 2022

The Gelman Collection came into being in 1941 when Jacques Gelman and Natasha Zahalkaha, two Eastern European émigrés, met in Mexico City. Natasha married Jacques, a Russian Jew from Saint Petersburg, who had arrived in Mexico in 1938, where he made his fortune producing Mario Morenoi (1911–1993) comic movies. The Gelmans soon became great patrons of the arts and keen collectors, establishing friendships with Frida Kahlo (who in the early1940s was becoming a Mexican cultural heroine and abandoning Surrealist glories) and Diego Rivera, as well as many artists who were their contemporaries such as RufinoTamayo, María Izquierdo, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Ángel Zárraga.
Soon the Gelman Collection acquired works by Frida including Self-Portrait with Necklace (1933), Self-Portrait Sitting on the Bed (1937), Self-Portrait with Monkeys (1943), Self-Portrait as Tehuana (1943) and The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Diego, Me and Señor Xolotl (1949).

These works are iconic images of her life indissolubly linked to that of her great love Diego Rivera.

Their works and personal possessions – photographs, clothes, jewellery, pages from their diaries – recount a country – Mexico – a cultural movement, the life of two artists and the passionate, compelling and destructive story of their two strong personalities. As Frida wrote in her diary; "I have experienced two serious accidents in my life … the first was the tram crash and the second Diego."

Today's exhibiton shows renowned paintings, drawings, and collages by Kahlo and Rivera along with more than 100 photographs of their lives, offering a deep exploration of the real people behind this work—and how their personas and their artistic practice continue to resonate with audiences today.