Museo Frida Kahlo

Top choice museum in Mexico City

Image by Paul Franklin / Paul M. Franklin Getty Images

Renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo was born in, and lived and died in, Casa Azul (Blue House), now a museum. Almost every visitor to Mexico City makes a pilgrimage here to gain a deeper understanding of the painter (and maybe to pick up a Frida handbag). Arrive early to avoid the crowds, especially on weekends.

Built by Frida's father Guillermo three years before her birth, the house is littered with mementos and personal belongings that evoke her long, often tempestuous relationship with husband Diego Rivera and the leftist intellectual circle they often entertained here. Kitchen implements, jewelry, outfits, photos and other objects from the artist’s everyday life are interspersed with art, as well as a variety of pre-Hispanic pieces and Mexican crafts. The collection was greatly expanded in 2007 after the discovery of a cache of previously unseen items that had been stashed in the attic.

Kahlo’s art expresses the anguish of her existence as well as her flirtation with socialist icons: portraits of Lenin and Mao hang around her bed and, in another painting, Retrato de la familia (Family Portrait), the artist’s Hungarian-Oaxacan roots are fancifully entangled.