By Jennifer Tisdale
The Harry Ransom Center is displaying Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s Self–portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird (1940) through March 21.
The painting, one of the Ransom Center’s most famous and frequently borrowed art works, has been on almost continuous loan since 1990. During that time, the painting has been featured in exhibitions in more than 25 museums in the United States and around the world.
You can view an interactive map that illustrates the travels of Kahlo’s Self–portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird.
The painting was most recently exhibited in Frida Kahlo, a traveling retrospective exhibition organized by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the artist’s birth.
Kahlo (1907–1954) taught herself how to paint after she was severely injured in an accident at the age of 18. For Kahlo, painting became an act of cathartic ritual, and her symbolic images portray a cycle of pain, death and rebirth.
In 1939, Kahlo was left heartbroken and lonely after the end of an affair with Hungarian-born photographer Nickolas Muray (1892–1965) and her divorce from artist Diego Rivera. But she produced some of her most powerful and compelling paintings and self–portraits during this time.
Muray purchased the self–portrait from Kahlo to help her during a difficult financial period. It is now part of the Ransom Center’s Nickolas Muray collection of more than 100 works of modern Mexican art, which was acquired by the Center in 1966. The collection also includes Kahlo’s Still Life with Parrot and Fruit (1951) and the drawing Diego y Yo (1930).
Later this year, Self–portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird will be on view in Berlin and Vienna.