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Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera Museo Casa Azul

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History Behind their Home Studio

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You can see the two different styles of the houses, which highlights the difference in the two artists characters and the relationship they had. Visualy they tell a story in itself, before you enter the Museum.

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Here you can see the spiral stair case that is on the exterior of the house, which links the two houses together. It was a unknown style of architecture during the time it was built in the 1920's by Juan O'Gorman. This querky characteristic, makes the house itself a work of art.

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This shows the roof top that links the two houses. Look at the zig-zag roof top style of the top of Diego's house, just another characteristic that seperates the two styles of houses.

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Showing the floor to roof glass windows, another thing that seperates Diego's house from Fridas.

Mexico city in itself is a spectacle like no other i have personally experienced. Its in the top ten of many world wide polls for population, size and pollution due to the respective characteristics. The hustle and bustle excites me, as the culture, excitement, but relaxed attitude of the people capture my imagination. It all sounds somewhat contradicting, but it is the juxtaposition of the various parts of the city that makes Mexico City so awe inspiring and what really captured my heart.

The juxtaposition of the city is no more apparent than the quiet leafy, green suburb, only a few roads of the beaten track of the city, that is home to a pair of modernist houses built for Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in 1931-32 by the leading architect of the time, Juan O'Gorman. On what was once a quiet corner, tucked behind an organ cactus fence, sits a small compound with a large maroon-coloured house (Diego's) and a much smaller blue abode, (Frida's) connected by a rooftop-causeway. From 1933 to 1941 they both stayed here, living and working apart, yet still near enough to visit each other and for Frida to deliver Diego's meals. In both buildings, walls are concrete, floors are wooden and many of the windows, especially in Diego's studio, are floor to ceiling - all very advanced for the early 1930s, especially in Mexico. The whole set-up is in such contrast to the Blue House 'Casa Azul' in Coyoacán that it is hard to imagine the same people living in both places.

Diego's studio contains some of his materials along with personal items, reproductions of some of his work and some large papier-mâche skeletons- 'Judas'. Temporary exhibits take up much of Frida's house, though there are a couple of fine portraits of her taken by Nikolas Muray, with whom Frida had an affair in the late 1930s. It also shows some of Frida's own ex-voto paintings of her debilitating accident. (see picture)

The museum is undoubtedly, is one of the most special public attractions that Mexico City has to offer. In it combines a splendid example of rationalist architecture in Mexico, with the presence of one of the greatest Mexican artists of the twentieth century, Diego Rivera. Rationalist theories of architecture is the idea of science opposing decoration, around the time of the Enlightenment, or 'Neoclassicism', which led to modernism. Please click the link above, or go to the Juan O'Gorman pages for more information on Rationalist Architecture.

The building, now an 'Artistic Heritage of the Nation', is regarded as a notable example of a functionalist project which began in 1930 in Mexico.

The young architect Juan O'Gorman screened not only the basic concepts of rationalism in spaces, but their own vision from a Mexican perspective. He incorporated elements such as the exterior colors of the building, using umbrellas to regulate the brightness inside, the sawtooth style roof to simulate a factory, an external helical staircase and a suspended bridge, which all caused great surprise at the time by his sagacity.

The presence of yellow daffodils surrounding the area devoted to the museum site, makes this 'rationalist and functionalist' space a home. The scientific elements to the architecture and the fact that the house was made for a reason, make it just a shell on its own. The daffodils allow a glimpse into the personality of a man and his passion for collecting and painting. Beyond a "living machine" the yellow daffodils made this space their home.

Surrounded by his collection of cardboard people, the Judas and their muertecitas (death quotes) are his collection of pre-Columbian ceramics and art. They are accompanied by his canvases, paper, pigments, the equipment, his 'restirador' (work table) and brushes, letting us know the intimate presence of this important Mexican artist.