Kahlo, Frida (Mexican, 1907-1954)

Self-Portrait with Portrait of Dr. Farill

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In 1950, Frida Kahlo’s doctor Juan Farill decided she needed a bone graft. Over a period of nine painful months in the hospital, she underwent seven operations that were complicated by infections. She wrote in her diary, “I was sick for a year…seven operations on my spine. Dr. Juan Farill saved me. He gave me back my joy in life. I am still in a wheelchair and I don't know how soon I will be able to walk again... I have already begun the little painting that I am going to give to Doctor Farill and that I am doing with all my affection for him.” (source for quote: http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/zoebrigley/entry/extracts_from_the/ Dr. Farill was one of the best surgeons in Mexico, and Kahlo was especially fond of him, in part because he also had a limp, due to surgery on his foot and leg. Here, she sits recovering in her wheelchair working on his portrait, with the doctor’s head turned toward her as if watching over her. She holds a heart-shaped palette laced with red and blue veins, reflecting the fact that this painting comes from her heart—in thanks, love, and pain. Notes by Mariann Smith
Physician-Patient Relations
Gallery Arvil Mexico City