Frida Kahlo and San Francisco: Constructing Her Identity

By Gannit Ankori, Circe Henestrosa, and Hillary C. Olcott

Frida Kahlo And Sf Cover Cropped 0

Frida Kahlo’s sojourns to San Francisco were brief but extremely impactful. It was in the California city—the first she visited in the US—that she ventured into a new world beyond the scope of Coyoacán, Mexico City, and Cuernavaca. Away from home, she began to explore her contemporary environment and her own potential. It was love at first sight when she saw the ocean and the bay and explored the diverse neighborhoods and cultures. In San Francisco, Kahlo refined her sartorial flair, enhanced her political and social worldview, and began to paint seriously. Today she is recognized as a cultural icon, an innovative creator of original style, and one of the most critically acclaimed artists of the twentieth century. Published on the occasion of a major exhibition at the de Young, this book marks the triumphant return of Frida Kahlo to San Francisco, the city where her process of becoming began to unfold.


Gannit Ankori is professor of fine arts and women, gender, and sexuality studies at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Circe Henestrosa is an independent fashion curator and head of the School of Fashion, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore.

Hillary C. Olcott is associate curator of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

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