How Much Do You Know About Frida Kahlo?

HISTORY

By: Teresa McGlothlin

6 Min Quiz

Image: Sotheby's via WikiCommons

About This Quiz

Frida Kahlo was born in either 1907 or 1910, and her life was full of beauty and tragedy. It also had enough relationship drama to make a telenovela! When she became seriously ill at the age of six, her life was forever changed. Preferring her father's studio over the playground, she began to forge her own artistic path. Throughout this quiz, you'll get to show us how much you know about Frida and her 47 years on the planet. Do you know as much as you think you do? 

During her lifetime, her stormy relationship with a fellow painter often eclipsed her talent. Painting from hospital beds and plagued by injuries from a streetcar accident, Frida had a much different approach to art than her loud and boisterous husband. Frida's painful self-portraits and portrayals of life were stark, intimate and challenging. After gaining notoriety on her own, she left a colorful legacy that stands the test of time. 

You don't need to be an art major to know enough to ace this quiz! As you go through the questions, we'll ask you about the things you probably already know from watching the movie "Frida." If not, we're certain you can figure it out! Read the answer choices carefully and see how well you do!

At the age of 6, Frida Kahlo contracted which disease that left one of her legs deformed?

During Kahlo's childhood, there was no polio vaccine, and she contracted it when she was 6 years old. The disease left her right leg shorter and thinner than the other. Her discomfort with it led to her signature look of wearing long, traditional skirts.

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What art form did Guillermo Kahlo ask Frida to help with as a child?

Frida was born to a Mexican and Spanish mother and a German and Mexican father named Guillermo. After she contracted polio, he kept her close, often taking her on photoshoots and teaching her how to develop film.

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In 1922, Kahlo was one of only 35 women admitted into which prestigious school where she joined a gang?

At age 15, Frida entered the National Preparatory School in Mexico City. At the height of the Mexican Revolution, it was not uncommon for students to witness violence in the streets and to join gangs for protection. She also met her future husband there.

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Which famous painter became Kahlo's husband for the first time in 1929?

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera met when she was merely a teenager, but they didn't marry until she was 22. At the time, her famous muralist-painting husband was 21 years her senior. They remained married until 1939.

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Frida and her husband were sometimes called The Elephant and The ______?

Kahlo and Rivera's relationship was full of opposite traits. Not only was he over two decades older than her, but he was also considerably larger. The term "The Elephant and The Dove" was frequently used to describe the artistic duo.

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What art movement often claims Kahlo's work even though she denied sharing their style?

While there are similarities between Frida Kahlo's work and Surrealist painters like Salvador Dali, she denied having anything to do with it. In fact, she once stated, "They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn't. I never painted my dreams. I painted my reality."

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With 55 of them in her portfolio, what type of paintings did Frida become famous for creating?

During her lifetime, Kahlo painted over 200 paintings. Out of those, 55 of them were self-portraits. In 2006, a self-portrait titled "Roots" broke all of her previous sales records by selling for over $5.1 million.

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She sometimes moved her birthday up a few years to coincide with the start of what historical event?

Frida entered the world on July 6, 1907, but she gave another account of her birth. She often moved her birthday up by three years to the start of the Mexican Revolution. Ever proud of her heritage, she felt that it gave her a deeper connection to her roots.

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How many surgeries did Frida have after an accident with a bus at the age of 18?

While Frida was traveling on a wooden bus, a streetcar collision caused her to be impaled by a steel rod. During her lifetime, she underwent 32 different surgeries to repair damage to her leg, spine, shoulders and womb.

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What art supply was modified so that she could paint from her hospital bed?

Frida never let being bedridden stop her from practicing art! Her father is said to have modified an easel so that she could paint while recovering from her many surgeries. A mirror was also installed overhead so that she could paint realistic self-portraits.

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Do you have any idea what Frida Kahlo wanted to be before she became a painter?

As a child, her battle with polio gave her an interest in medicine, and she had hoped to pursue becoming a doctor. Despite the tragedy of Frida's accident, she credits it with helping her become a painter.

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Now a museum, what's the name of the house where Frida Kahlo spent most of her life?

Frida was a professional world traveler, but she spent the majority of her time in her childhood home, La Casa Azul. After her death, Diego Rivera donated the property and its contents to what is now a preserved museum.

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After being treated there, she painted a self-portrait from which Detroit hospital?

Injuries sustained during Kahlo's accident left her unable to have children, and she suffered several heartbreaking miscarriages. While traveling with Diego, she was treated for one of them. There, she painted her feelings out in a piece named "Henry Ford Hospital."

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Do you know how Frida Kahlo arrived at her first solo art exhibition in 1953?

In Frida's time, female painters were not as readily celebrated men. But she broke the mold when she began to become famous after artists like Picasso. Not being one to admit defeat, she didn't let a hospital stay stop her from attending her first art opening. She took an ambulance there instead!

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Which famous jazz singer is Kahlo rumored to have had an affair with?

Frida and Diego's relationship was full of drama and infidelity. In addition to an affair with Communist leader Leon Trotsky, Frida had a well-publicized tryst with singer Josephine Baker. Diego wasn't innocent, either. Just ask Frida's sister!

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Frida immortalized her pets Fulang Chang and Caimito de Guayabal in which of her paintings?

Many artists are fond of their pets, but Frida took it to the next level. In addition to her pet monkeys, she had parrots, a fawn, chickens, parakeets, hairless dogs and an eagle named Gertrudis Caca Blanca.

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She once changed her name to be the same as her sister's. What was it?

Known for their tumultuous love life, Frida and Diego both participated in extra-marital affairs. In an attempt to recapture Diego's attention after his affair with her sister Cristina, Frida insisted upon being called by the same name.

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Can you figure out which of Frida's paintings illustrates her spinal injuries?

To alleviate some of Frida's excruciating pain, doctors completed spinal surgeries that involved installing steel rods. She was known to decorate the plaster casts she wore as part of her recovery. Some of them can be viewed at her La Casa Azul museum.

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Is it true or false that Frida was once arrested and held for murder?

When Frida's former lover and Mexican Communist party leader Leon Trotsky was found murdered, both Frida and her sister were arrested. Thankfully, there were quickly released after being held for questioning.

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Frida claims to have had two accidents in her life. Which did she consider the worst?

Frida never held back her feelings about her relationship! She once journaled, "There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and one was Diego. Diego was by far the worst."

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Before marrying Diego Rivera, what political party did Frida Kahlo join?

Throughout Kahlo's life, she was a staunch political activist. In 1928, she joined the Mexican Communist Party, and she supported it until shortly before her passing. She attended a rally only days before her death.

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Any idea which American city honored the artist with a street named Frida Kahlo Way?

During the 1930s, Frida and Diego spent considerable amounts of time in the United States. Ever the activist, Frida shook things up when she helped to form a group that fought a politician's racist jabs at the Asian population. In 2016, the city of San Francisco paid tribute to her actions.

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A painting titled "The Frame" was purchased by which famous art gallery in 1939?

Frida's Paris exhibition may not have met with critical acclaim, but someone from the Louvre was quite impressed. In 1938, her self-portrait "The Frame" was purchased by the gallery. She is the first Mexican painter to join the museum's famous collection.

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While traveling through the U.S., Frida practiced her English skills. How many languages did she speak?

There's seemingly no end to Frida Kahlo's intelligence! Including German, English and Spanish, Frida was fluent in three languages. Given the time she spent in France, she would probably hold her own there, too.

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Which of Kahlo's controversial paintings was hidden from 1939 to 1960?

When a Broadway writer commissioned Frida to paint a tribute to one of her deceased friends, she was in for quite a shock. Forever pushing boundaries, Frida painted her suicide rather than the loving memorial piece the author was hoping to see.

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What surgical complication caused Kahlo to have one of her feet amputated?

One of the last surgeries Frida had in 1953 left her with a serious infection. Unable to save her foot, doctors were forced to amputate the appendage because of a condition known as gangrene that was life-threatening.

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How long were Frida and Diego divorced before they remarried in 1940?

Diego and Frida's marriage was as full of drama as a telenovela! During one particularly tumultuous time, the couple decided to divorce. Unable to be apart, they were remarried only one year later.

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Which one of these fashion magazines included Frida in a 1939 spread?

Frida's fierce commitment to her heritage was always reflected in her clothing. A fashion designer was inspired by her style and created a spread for "Vogue" called the Señoras of Mexico. It features Frida next to an agave plant.

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The Museo Frida Kahlo is sometimes called by what nickname?

Dedicated by Diego Rivera after Frida's death, the Frida Kahlo Museum is often called the "Blue House." Every month, over 25,000 people journey to Coyoacán in Mexico City to pay tribute.

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What iconic American thing did Frida develop a real distaste for while visiting New York City?

Frida was fascinated by the industry and technology during her travels through the U.S., but she hated Wall Street. For her, it represented the division of classes that her political leanings fought so hard against.

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Do you know how many siblings Frida Kahlo grow up with?

During her youth, Frida was the more introverted of all her siblings. She grew up in a home with three sisters, but she preferred the company of her father. She often credited him for fostering her love of art.

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Which of Kahlo's painting represents the artist's dual nature?

One of her largest and most memorable paintings, "The Two Fridas" was painted soon after her divorce from Diego Rivera. Frida points out that the two figures represent the loved and unloved versions of herself.

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During the '70s, what movement embraced Frida as a symbol?

As the fight for equality continued in the '70s, the feminist movement made Frida popular again. Her self-awareness, activism and body-positive message were directly in line with the movement's values.

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What type of paint did Frida Kahlo primarily use in her paintings?

There are a couple of Kahlo paintings completed in different mediums, but she usually employed the use of oil paint. Oil paint is much more vibrant than the others, and it lends to the overall aesthetic of her paintings.

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Which famous actress played Frida in a 2002 film named "Frida?"

With such fierce pride in her Mexican heritage, it wouldn't have been right for anyone but Salma Hayek to play Frida. The actress received an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of the artist.

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