This was the day! Frida Kahlo day! It’s a little different from Rex Manning day but I can assure you the level of excitement is the same. From La Casita de Coyoacan, we walked to Frida’s Casa Azul (Blue House) and got in line for our 10:30 entry time. The line for the folks that didn’t pre-purchase their tickets was ridiculously long. I’d highly recommend buying ahead of time. While waiting in line, street vendors attempted to sell us churros as well as folk art crafts and Frida t-shirts. A few of us bought a few of the things…you know who you are.
I decided I wanted to take the audio tour here and I’m glad I did. In addition, at the museums in Mexico City, you pay extra to take photos, which I find very interesting. Don’t get any ideas US museums! A few of the room have been turned into a galleries of Frida’s art. Once you hit the dining room, the rooms are set up as they were when she and her husband, Diego Rivera, lived there. The house was Frida’s birthplace and family home, built by her father in 1904. Diego donated the house in 1957 (the year of his death) and it was opened to the public in 1958.
The rooms themselves are interesting enough but the bread and butter of this tour is Frida’s studio. What an amazing space. Walls of windows open out to the garden courtyard, giving light and air to big L shaped room. Along another wall, nearly ceiling height cases with glass doors hold her books and other treasures. Her supplies and easel are in this room, as well as her wheelchair. The studio is right off her day bedroom, which is sandwiched between the studio and her night bedroom. The day bedroom opens to a staircase down into the gardens, where you find pre-Columbian sculpture mixed in amongst the plants. You’ll also find the gift shop down here and a few other ‘out’ buildings, including one with an exhibit of her medical apparatuses and clothing.
Your ticket to Casa Azul will also get you into Diego Rivera’s Anahuacalli Museum. Rivera designed this museum to house his pre-Hispanic art collection. Due to timing and proximity, we didn’t make it to Anahuacalli. Even though I have mixed feelings about Rivera, it is on my list for next time. Where we went next was….
Leon Trotsky’s house! Well, the house he was staying in when he was killed. Trotsky had been staying with Kahlo and Rivera in Casa Azul, but after Rivera found out Trotsky and Kahlo were having an affair, he kicked ol’ Trotsky out. The house he went was within walking distance of Casa Azul and I was lucky to have everyone in the group agree to this detour. The museum at the Trotsky house is entirely in Spanish so it didn’t do me much good. Wandering out to see the guard house, chicken coops and the house Trotsky used as his office and home, was very interesting. After having read about the relationship between Trotsky, Kahlo and Rivera in Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna, I was happy to see the real place, especially right after seeing Casa Azul. It helped create a fuller story of what happened.
The Trotsky museum also had a small café on the grounds and we stopped to have coffee and crepes. I don’t know how Trotsky would have felt about that café, but it was tasty and I’m glad it was there. After crepes and a photo shoot with Andy and Pablo, our group split up. Sue, Roxy and Marie joined back up with Sandra and Abel for a stop at an antique market. Katie, Anthony and I headed to Chapultapec Park to see the Leonora Carrington exhibit at the Museo de Arte Popular.
Day six was so full. I’m going to save the rest for another post! Standby….