Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Casta, Costumbrismo, Kahlo

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2018), 95, (7), 767–782.

Abstract

Much has been written about how Frida Kahlo’s artistic production revealed the intense emotional and physical pain that she endured throughout her life. Subjects such as the tragic bus accident that she survived as a teenager, or her troubled relationship with famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, have informed numerous biographical readings of her work. And though her indebtedness to the colonial traditions of ex-voto and retablo paintings has been noted, little has been said of her relationship to other aspects of Mexican visual culture. This article contextualizes Kahlo’s oeuvre within the genres of eighteenth-century casta painting and nineteenth-century costumbrismo, genres that were preoccupied with depicting socio-racial and socio-familial relationships and with representing Mexico’s miscegenation, or racial mixing.

Se ha escrito mucho sobre la producción artística de Frida Kahlo que revela el sufrimiento emocional y físico que perduró durante su vida. El trágico accidente que sobrevivió cuando era joven, y también su relación tormentosa con el famoso muralista mexicano Diego Rivera, han informado varios escritos biográficos sobre el artista. Aunque autores han tomado en cuenta la dedicación de Kahlo a la tradición colonial del ex-voto y pinturas retablo, poco se ha publicado sobre su relación con otros aspectos de la cultura visual mexicana. Este artículo analiza las obras de Kahlo en relación a dos géneros artísticos mexicanos, las pinturas casta del siglo dieciocho y el costumbrismo del siglo diecinueve, categorías que fueron conocidos, tal como las pinturas de Kahlo, por representar las relaciones familiares y raciales y la complejidad del mestizaje.

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Turok, Marta, 2008. ‘Frida’s Attire: Eclectic and Ethnic’, in Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress: Frida’s Wardrobe, by Denise Rosenzweig and Magalena Rosenzweig (San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books), pp. 51–174. Frida’s Attire: Eclectic and Ethnic Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress: Frida’s Wardrobe 51 174 Google Scholar

Ankori, Gannit, 2013. Frida Kahlo (London: Reaktion Books). Frida Kahlo Google Scholar

Bailey, Gauvin Alexander, 1997. ‘A Mughal Princess in Baroque New Spain: Catarina de San Juan (1606–1688), the china poblana’, Anales del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, 71: 37–73. A Mughal Princess in Baroque New Spain: Catarina de San Juan (1606–1688), the china poblana Anales del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas 71 37 73 Google Scholar

Bhabha, Homi K., 1994. The Location of Culture (London and New York: Routledge). The Location of Culture Google Scholar

Bleichmar, Daniiela, 2012. Visible Empire: Botanical Expeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press). Visible Empire: Botanical Expeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment Google Scholar

Breton, André, 1972. Surrealism and Painting (New York: Icon Editions). Surrealism and Painting Google Scholar

Calderón de la Barca, Fanny, 1966. Life in Mexico: The Letters of Fanny Calderón de la Barca, ed. Howard T. and Marion Hall Fisher (Garden City, NY: Doubleday). Life in Mexico: The Letters of Fanny Calderón de la Barca Google Scholar

Carrasco Puente, Rafael, 1950. Bibliografía de Catarina de San Juan y la China Poblana (Mexico City: Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores). Bibliografía de Catarina de San Juan y la China Poblana Google Scholar

Carrera, Magali, 2003. Imagining Identity in New Spain: Race, Lineage, and the Colonial Body in Portraiture and Casta Paintings (Austin: University of Texas Press). Imagining Identity in New Spain: Race, Lineage, and the Colonial Body in Portraiture and Casta Paintings Google Scholar

Castro-Sethness, Maria, 2004–2005. ‘Frida Kahlo’s Spiritual World: The Influence of Mexican Retablo and Ex-voto Paintings on her Art’, Woman’s Art Journal, 25.2: 21–24. Frida Kahlo’s Spiritual World: The Influence of Mexican Retablo and Ex-voto Paintings on her Art Woman’s Art Journal 25.2 21 24 Google Scholar

Comisarenco, Dina, 1996. ‘Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Tlazolteotl’, Woman’s Art Journal, 17.1: 14–21. Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Tlazolteotl Woman’s Art Journal 17.1 14 21 Google Scholar

Covarrubias, Miguel, 1947. Mexico South. The Isthmus of Tehuantepec (New York: Knopf). Mexico South. The Isthmus of Tehuantepec Google Scholar

Gillespie, Jeanne L., 1998. ‘Gender, Ethnicity and Piety: The Case of the China Poblana’, in Imagination Beyond Nation: Latin American Popular Culture, ed. Eva P. Bueno and Terry Caesar (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press), pp. 19–40. Gender, Ethnicity and Piety: The Case of the China Poblana Imagination Beyond Nation: Latin American Popular Culture 19 40 Google Scholar

Grimberg, Salomon, 1990–1991. ‘Frida Kahlo’s Memory: The Piercing of the Heart by the Arrow of Divine Love’, Woman’s Art Journal, 11.2: 3–7. Frida Kahlo’s Memory: The Piercing of the Heart by the Arrow of Divine Love Woman’s Art Journal 11.2 3 7 Google Scholar

Grimberg, Salomon, 1998. ‘Frida Kahlo: The Self as an End’, in Mirror Images: Women, Surrealism, and Self-Representation, ed. Whitney Chadwick (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press), pp. 93–95. Frida Kahlo: The Self as an End Mirror Images: Women, Surrealism, and Self-Representa 93 95 Google Scholar

Grimberg, Salomon, 2004–2005. ‘Frida Kahlo’s Still Lifes: “I Paint Flowers So They Will Not Die”’, Woman’s Art Journal, 25.2: 25–30. Frida Kahlo’s Still Lifes: “I Paint Flowers So They Will Not Die” Woman’s Art Journal 25.2 25 30 Google Scholar

Helland, Janice, 1990–1991. ‘Aztec Imagery in Frida Kahlo’s Paintings: Indigeneity and Political Commitment’, Woman’s Art Journal, 11.2: 8–13. Aztec Imagery in Frida Kahlo’s Paintings: Indigeneity and Political Commitment Woman’s Art Journal 11.2 8 13 Google Scholar

Henestrosa, Circe, 2013. ‘Kahlo Inspires and Intrigues Audiences in New Exhibits’ Interview on ABC/ Univision, qtd by Marilyn Gilroy in The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, 23.20: 10–12. Available at: >https://issuu.com/hohost/docs/148382-august_5_2013> [accessed 14 May 2018]. Google Scholar

Herrera, Hayden, 1983. Frida Kahlo (New York: Perennial). Frida Kahlo Google Scholar

Herrera, Hayden, 2002. Frida Kahlo: The Paintings (New York: Perennial). Frida Kahlo: The Paintings Google Scholar

Katzew, Ilona, 2004. Casta Painting: Images of Race in Eighteenth-Century Mexico (New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press). Casta Painting: Images of Race in Eighteenth-Century Mexico Google Scholar

León, Nicolás, 1971. Catarina de San Juan y la China Poblana (Puebla, Mexico: Altiplano). Catarina de San Juan y la China Poblana Google Scholar

Lindauer, Margaret A., 1999. Devouring Frida: The Art History and Popular Celebrity of Frida Kahlo (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press). Devouring Frida: The Art History and Popular Celebrity of Frida Kahlo Google Scholar

Moriuchi, Mey-Yen, 2013. ‘From “les types populaires” to “los tipos populares”: Nineteenth-Century Mexican Costumbrismo’, Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, 12.1: 1–23. From “les types populaires” to “los tipos populares”: Nineteenth-Century Mexican Costumbrismo Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide 12.1 1 23 Google Scholar

Moriuchi, Mey-Yen, 2015. ‘From Casta to Costumbrismo: Representations of Racialized Social Spaces’, in Envisioning Others: Race, Color, and the Visual in Iberia and Latin America, ed. Pamela Patton (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill), pp. 213–40. From Casta to Costumbrismo: Representations of Racialized Social Spaces Envisioning Others: Race, Color, and the Visual in Iberia and Latin America 213 40 Google Scholar

Nebel, Carl, 1840. Viaje pintoresco y arquelójico sobre la parte más interesante de la República Mejicana, en los años transcurridos desde 1829 hasta 1834 (Paris and Mexico: Paul Renouard). Viaje pintoresco y arquelójico sobre la parte más interesante de la República Mejicana, en los años transcurridos desde 1829 hasta 1834 Google Scholar

Newhall, Nancy, 1990. The Daybooks of Edward Weston: I. Mexico II. California (New York: Aperture). The Daybooks of Edward Weston: I. Mexico II. California Google Scholar

Oles, James, 2013. Art and Architecture in Mexico (London: Thames and Hudson). Art and Architecture in Mexico Google Scholar

Prieto, Guillermo, 2002 [1849]. ‘Ocho días en Puebla: Impresiones profundas de viaje arquitectónico, sentimental científico y estrambótico de “Fidel” Guillermo Prieto’, in Identidad de Puebla Esencia de Mexicanidad: José Agustín Arrieta, by Pedro Angel Palou Pérez (Puebla, Mexico: Gobierno del Estado de Puebla), pp. 29–31. Ocho días en Puebla: Impresiones profundas de viaje arquitectónico, sentimental científico y estrambótico de “Fidel” Guillermo Prieto Identidad de Puebla Esencia de Mexicanidad: José Agustín Arrieta 29 31 Google Scholar

Rivera, José María, 1854–1855. ‘La China’, in Los mexicanos pintados por sí mismos: tipos y costumbres nacionales, por varios autores (Mexico City: M. Murguía), pp. 88–98. La China Los mexicanos pintados por sí mismos: tipos y costumbres nacionales, por varios autores 88 98 Google Scholar

Turok, Marta, 2008. ‘Frida’s Attire: Eclectic and Ethnic’, in Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress: Frida’s Wardrobe, by Denise Rosenzweig and Magalena Rosenzweig (San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books), pp. 51–174. Frida’s Attire: Eclectic and Ethnic Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress: Frida’s Wardrobe 51 174 Google Scholar

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MORIUCHI, MEY-YEN