Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray

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Nickolas Muray, 1892-1965 
American (b. Hungary) Frida on White Bench, New York 1939, Carbon process print

Photographer Nickolas Muray (1892-1965) came to America in 1913 from Hungary. During Muray’s forty-five year career as a New York photographer, he developed a growing reputation that began during the decade of the Twenties when he photographed everybody who was anybody. At the time of his death, most Americans had seen, at one time or another, Muray’s portraits of celebrities, Presidents, or advertisements.

Between 1920 and 1940, Nickolas Muray made over 10,000 portraits. He began photographing Frida Kahlo in color in the winter of 1938-1939, while Kahlo adjourned in New York, attending her exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery; and he continued to do so until 1948. Muray photographed Frida more often than any other single person.

Muray and Kahlo were at the height of an on-again, off-again ten-year love affair when he began photographing her using the Carbro technique.

Carbro prints of Muray’s portraits of Frida Kahlo are in the permanent collection of the Frida Kahlo Museum, The George Eastman House, The National Portrait Gallery/ Smithsonian, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This exhibition is part of a national tour over a two and a half year period containing forty-six photographic prints reproduced from the original negatives. The tour was developed and managed by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, an exhibition tour development company in Kansas City, Missouri.