Frida Kahlo: Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress (1926)

Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress, is one of Frida Kahlo’s early portraits. This portrait implied the emotional tension as well as showing with her other paintings. This painting she used as a token of love to regain the affection from her lover. She started working on this painting during the late summer of 1926 when her relationship with Alejandro is turning sour because Alejandro thinks she is too liberal. She wrote letters to him and promised that she will be a better person to deserve him. And when she finished this portrait in September of 1926 she wrote a letter to: “Within a few days the portrait will be in your house. Forgive me for sending it without a frame. I implore you to put it in a low place where you can see it as if you were looking at me.”

In this self-portrait, Frida was wearing a wine-red velvet dress and looks like a princess in it. She sent it to Alejandro and hope he will keep her in his mind. This painting worked: after Alejandro received this paining, they went back to be together again. But he left for Europe in March 1927 because his parents didn’t want him to be together with Frida. She wrote a lot of letters after they are apart and in those letters she calls herself with her Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress, calling it “your ‘Boticeli’. She wrote this: “Alex, your ‘Boticeli’ has also become very sad, but I told her that until you come back, she should be the ‘sound asleep one’; in spite of this she remembers you always.” And in a few months on awaiting him coming back to Mexico, she wrote the letter with reference to this portrait: “You cannot imagine how marvelous it is to wait for you, serenely as in the portrait.” It was obvious Frida was hoping her self-portrait has the magical power that can win back her love.


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