Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s turbulent relationship is shown in a rare exhibition.
Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution, which debuted Saturday at the Art Gallery of South Australia, depicts benefactors Jacques and Natasha Gelman.
The Gelmans seemed to agree on every piece they bought for their extensive and rich collection, unlike the artists, who had several relationships.
For 23 years, the collection, one of the few ways the public may see Kahlo and Rivera’s art, has traveled the world in exhibitions.
According to collection curator Magda Carranza de Akle, the Gelmans were businesspeople and accomplished directors and producers.
The show ends in Adelaide.
Kahlo and Rivera, their close friends, were Communist Party members.
“They were friends because the Gelmans admired their work, not their politics, not their personal life,” she stated.
The Gelmans—Jacques from Russia and Natasha from Czechoslovakia—met in Mexico City and married in 1941, gaining Mexican citizens.
In 1943, Jaques Gelman commissioned Rivera and Kahlo to portray his wife.
Kahlo’s Natasha portrait is modest, personal, and somber, depicting her unsmiling in jewels and pearls. Even the frame is wonderful.
Rivera sits on a couch with flowers around her in a stunning white dress and jewellery. How long were her legs?
The pair supported Mexican Modernists and bought Diego on My Mind, one of Kahlo’s most renowned paintings, that year.
“To this day I adore that painting and the other Fridas, as much as the day I first saw them,” Natasha Gelman later said.
She hung the Kahlos in their previous home’s bedroom.
The couple also gave works by Braque, Gris, Léger, Picasso, Dalí, Matisse, and Miró to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
AGSA curator Tansy Curtin says the display shows the Gelmans’ excellent taste.
She claimed focusing on Kahlo and Rivera’s tumultuous personal life over their art is shallow.
“We as human beings love to try and unpack it… we love those kinds of salacious details.”
“They were obviously an incredibly intellectual couple, and I don’t think we can necessarily understand their relationship.”
A home movie of Kahlo and Rivera shows their passion.
The Art Gallery of South Australia opens Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution Saturday.
AGSA helped AAP reach Adelaide.