Kahlo was born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderon in her parents' house in Coyoacan[?], Mexico a suburb of Mexico City. Her father was a painter and photographer, and her mother took care of Frida's five sisters. As a result of an accident at age 15, Kahlo turned her attention from a medical career to painting. Drawing on her personal experiences, her works are often shocking in their stark portrayal of pain and the harsh lives of women. Fifty-five of her 143 paintings are self-portraits incorporating a personal symbolism complete with graphic anatomical references. She was also influenced by indigenous Mexican culture, aspects of which she portrayed in bright colors, with a mixture of realism and symbolism.
Her paintings attracted the attention of the artist Diego Rivera, whom she later married, divorced and re-married. An active Communist supporter, she also had an affair with Leon Trotsky, whose assassination took place in her residence in 1940.
Although Kahlo's work is sometimes classified as surrealist and she did exhibit several times with European surrealists, she herself disputed the label. Her preoccupation with female themes and the figurative candor with which she expressed them made her something of a feminist cult figure in the last decades of the 20th century.
She most probably committed suicide on July 13, 1954, her ashes placed in a pre-Columbian urn which are on display in her former home "La Casa Azul" in Coyoacan, Mexico which has been turned into a museum containing a number of her works.
In 2002, Miramax released a motion picture titled Frida[?], a romance/drama starring Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo, Alfred Molina[?] as Diego Rivera, Ashley Judd, Antonio Banderas, Edward Norton, and Geoffrey Rush.