The Art Gallery of New South Wales is delighted to present Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, an exhibition that explores the art – and the relationship – of one of art history’s most celebrated couplings.
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection brings together 33 works by the artists as well as three short films; personal letters and 57 photographs documenting Kahlo and Rivera’s lives. The exhibition considers the fruits of their companionship from their artistic output, to their public personas and impact on popular culture.
Dr Michael Brand, director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, said the exhibition presents an important opportunity for Australian audiences across the nation.
“It has been more than a decade since either Kahlo or Rivera’s work has been seen in Australia and it is the first time ever their work has been exhibited in Sydney.
“The exhibition reveals the artists’ fiercely independent artistic visions while also pointing to political, cultural and personal concerns that affected them both,” Brand said.
Jacques and Natasha Gelman began collecting Mexican modern art during the 1940s. Close friends of Kahlo and Rivera, they amassed a significant collection including commissioned works by Kahlo and Rivera. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection is in many ways a portrait of two marriages – the first being that of the artists and the second being that of the Gelman’s, who had a profoundly collaborative and dedicated approach to collecting the avant-garde artists of their time.
Robert Littman, President of the Vergel Foundation which owns and manages the Gelman Collection, said he is delighted that Kahlo and Rivera’s masterpieces will be seen in Sydney for the first time.
“Natasha and Jacques Gelman enthusiastically acquired and commissioned works by Frida Kahlo and her husband, Diego Rivera, when there were only a handful of collectors in Mexico.
“Their passion for Mexican art continues through the Vergel Foundation which actively collects contemporary Mexican art and supports Mexican artists,” said Littman.
The lives and work of artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera continue to captivate audiences more than half a century after their deaths. Nicholas Chambers, coordinating curator and Art Gallery of NSW Senior Curator Modern and Contemporary International Art, said their unconventional bond was passionate and fiery, steeped in political ideals and their love of indigenous Mexican culture.
“Kahlo and Rivera were a constant inspiration to one another. They remained companions through marriage, separation, a multitude of affairs, financial troubles, considerable bouts of illness and a troubled political landscape,” Chambers said.
“Their dedication and respect for one another’s practice was unrelenting and this exhibition highlights that enduring connection,” Chambers added.
“Fridamania” is alive and well in Sydney with the Gallery experiencing one of the highest-ever advance tickets sales of an exhibition prior to opening. Timed ticketing will assist to accommodate the enormous interest in the exhibition. For the duration of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection gallery-goers are encouraged to book in advance to secure entry to the exhibition.
Alongside the Gallery’s publication, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera (RRP $24.95), a new online resource that offers access to fascinating stories about Kahlo and Rivera, their artworks, photos and special offers associated with the exhibition has been launched by the Gallery. Get closer to Frida and Diego
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection is also accompanied by An unconventional union, a series of performance lectures by Australian artists who will consider the exhibition from a social, historical and political context.
The colour and vibrancy of Mexico will also be celebrated in the Gallery’s Entrance Court for Art After Hours with Frida flower-making and the sounds of Victor Valdes’ Real Mexico Mariachi Band.
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection is generously supported by the Art Gallery of New South Wales’s President’s Council.
25 Jun – 9 Oct 2016
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney
$8 child (5-17 years)
$44 family (2 adults + up to 3 children)
$29/$26/$23 multi-visit pass
$7 student (booked school groups)
Free for children under 5