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AGO to Present Major Kahlo/Rivera Exhibition in Fall 2012

Art Gallery of Ontario to display 75 of the artists’ key works

“Never before had a woman put such agonizing poetry on canvas as Frida did.”

“His capacity for work breaks clocks and calendars.”

(TORONTO – January 11, 2012) This fall, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) will present a major survey of masterworks by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, two renowned and prolific early 20th-century painters whose work continues to resonate with viewers around the world. Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting features 75 works by the artists, drawn primarily from the collection of Mexico’s Museo Dolores Olmedo. These works highlight Rivera and Kahlo’s lives together and apart, their politics and relationship to society and how their passionate views and activism influenced their work. The exhibition will be at the AGO from Oct. 20, 2012 through Jan. 20, 2013.

Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting is presented in collaboration with the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, which will display the exhibition in February 2013. This relationship signals a continuation of the AGO’s commitment to working with the world’s most esteemed art institutions, following partnerships with New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and the Musée National Picasso, Paris.

“I am delighted to join forces on this project with the High, a museum for which I have the utmost respect,” says Matthew Teitelbaum, AGO Director, and CEO. “Collaborations such as these strengthen the international community of art institutions and allow us to continue bringing the world’s most renowned art to our visitors and members.”

"Frida & Diego marks the first time important work by two influential Mexican artists will be shown in the Southeast," said Michael E. Shapiro, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green Director of the High Museum of Art. "By working with the Art Gallery of Ontario, the High Museum of Art continues its commitment to collaborative partnerships that bring great works of art from around the world to Atlanta."

Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting positions the artists’ work in the political and artistic contexts of their time. Kahlo, whose paintings were described by French poet and writer André Breton as “a ribbon around a bomb,” was called a Surrealist by some, but she resisted the label and claimed she painted her reality, not her dreams. The selected works allude to both artists’ support for the Communist movement, as well as the concept of Mexicanidad, an identification with Mexico’s indigenous roots.

“The opportunity to bring the works of these iconic painters to Toronto is truly extraordinary,” says Elizabeth Smith, the AGO’s Executive Director of Curatorial Affairs. “The exhibition highlights Kahlo and Rivera’s development as artists and gives visitors a glimpse into their private lives, which were famously as tumultuous as they were inspired.”

Notable works by Kahlo include:

  • Hospital Henry Ford (Henry Ford Hospital); 1932, oil on metal;
  • Autorretrato con monos (Self Portrait with Monkeys); 1943, oil on canvas;
  • La columna rota (The Broken Column); 1944, oil on masonite;
  • El abrazo de amor de el universo, la tierra (México), Diego, yo y el Señor Xólotl (The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Diego, Me and Señor Xólotl); 1949, oil on masonite.

Notable works by Rivera include:

  • Autorretrato (Self Portrait); 1930, lithograph;
  • La canoa enflorada (The Flowered Canoe); 1931, oil on canvas;
  • Vendedora de alcatraces (Calla Lily Vendor); 1943, oil on masonite;
  •  El joven de la estilográfica (Portrait of Best Maugard); 1914, oil on canvas.

The Museo Dolores Olmedo houses the world’s largest assemblage of work by Kahlo, including many considered to be among her masterpieces, such as The Broken Column, Henry Ford Hospital and Self Portrait with Small Monkey. The museum’s collection also features numerous works by Rivera that helped establish the Mexican School of Painting, as well as his portraits, both of which are represented in Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting.

The exhibition also features works from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of Mexican Art, which comprises the largest private holding of 20th-century Mexican art, spanning works from the 1910s to the 1990s. Friends of Rivera and Kahlo, the Gelmans amassed a significant number of their works, including Kahlo’s inventive self-portraits and Rivera’s portrait of Natasha Gelman from 1943.

AGO members will enjoy free admission to Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting and will be invited to an exclusive advance preview in the days leading up to the exhibition’s public opening. More information on AGO membership can be found at

This exhibition is co-organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), the High Museum of Art (Atlanta) and the Museo Dolores Olmedo (Mexico City) in association with The Vergel Foundation, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of Mexican Art and Galería Arvil.

Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris arrives at the AGO this May

Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting will closely follow the AGO’s highly anticipated presentation of Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris. Featuring 147 highlights from the Musée’s unparalleled collection, it features paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings, covering virtually every phase of the modern master’s unceasingly radical and diverse career, including works from his Blue, Rose and Cubist periods. Following Abstract Expressionist New York and Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde, Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris continues AGO members’ and visitors’ journey through some of the most thrilling and significant moments and masterpieces of 20th-century art. This blockbuster will be on view at the AGO, the only Canadian stop on its international tour, from May 1 through Aug. 26, 2012.

Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris is generously supported by Lead Sponsor BMO Financial Group.

Additional support is provided by Air Canada, Official Airline for the exhibition.


With a permanent collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. In 2008, complete with a stunning new design by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the AGO opened its doors to the public amid international acclaim. Architectural highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase made of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, along the Gallery’s facade; and the feature staircase, spiralling up through the roof of Walker Court and into the new contemporary galleries above. From the extensive Group of Seven collection to the dramatic African art gallery and from the cutting-edge works in the contemporary tower to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, a highlight of the celebrated Thomson Collection, there is truly something for everyone at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.


For ticket information, click here. To purchase tickets, call 416 979 6648 or buy online.

For press images and more information, please contact:

Andrea-Jo Wilson, 416-979-6660 ext. 403,
Caitlin Coull, 416-979-6660 ext. 364,

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