Lonely Planet Writer

Frida Kahlo's only known voice recording may have been found in Mexico

A Mexican library has come across what is believed to be the only audio recording of Frida Kahlo's voice.

Travel News - Frida Kahlo Voice
A museum in Mexico has unearthed what is believed to be the only audio recording of Frida Kahlo's voice. Image by Dieter Nagl/AFP/Getty

Frida Kahlo has probably one of the most recognisable faces in the world of art. Her image was the recurring theme of her work, becoming so powerful that it has acquired iconic status. It's also become a commodity, appearing on everything from t-shirts to tequila bottles, Barbie dolls and commemorative stamps. One feature of Kahlo we're not familiar with though is her voice. We don't know know what she sounds like because no surviving audio recording of her voice has been known to exist until now.

Travel News - Frida Kahlo painting
Frida Kahlo with one of her portraits of a San Francisco society woman. Image by Getty

The National Sound Library of Mexico has unearthed what they believe could be Kahlo reading from her essay Portrait of Diego, a text she wrote for a 1949 exhibition at the Palace of Fine Arts, celebrating the work of her husband Diego Rivera. The recording is taken from the pilot episode of the radio show El Bachiller (The Bachelor), a 1950s radio show in Mexico. The National Sound Library said its researchers believed that the recording was made in 1953 or ’54, shortly before Kahlo died.

Travel News - Artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo
In the recording Kahlo is speaking about her husband, Diego Rivera (pictured). Image by Getty

"He is a gigantic, immense child, with a friendly face and a sad gaze," the woman's voice says. "His high, dark, extremely intelligent and big eyes rarely hold still. They almost come out of their sockets because of their swollen and protuberant eyelids – like a toad’s. They allow his gaze to take in a much wider visual field, as if they were built especially for a painter of large spaces and crowds."

If proven to be legitimate, it will be the only audio recording in history of Kahlo. However, the director of the Frida Kahlo Museum, Hilda Trujillo, told the Associated Press that "there’s still a long way to go" to verify the voice in question. "I personally think that the art world has to be very strict in its judgment and can’t rush to assumptions," Trujillo said.

You can listen to the recording here.