art/architecture Mexico

Attraction review: Frida Kahlo’s The Blue House

The Blue House (La Casa Azul)
Coyocan, Mexico

The attraction: The museum dedicated to one of Latin America’s most famous painters is located in Coyocan, a suburb of Mexico City. It’s known as the Blue House for its cobalt-blue walls on the exterior and is a historic house and art museum dedicated to the life and work of Frida Kahlo. She was born in this house in 1907, lived here with her husband, Mexico’s other famous artist, Diego Rivera, and would also die in one of the upstairs rooms in 1954. The house was built in traditional Spanish style,  constructed around a central courtyard with garden space. Receiving approximately 25,000 monthly visitors, it is one of Mexico City’s most popular attractions.

Pros to visiting: When you see the Blue House, you see Frida. Every square inch oozes (in a good way) with her eccentric personality and lifestyle. It is as if you are actually walking through one of her paintings and not just a series of rooms in a house. Although many people are put off by the sometimes shocking and controversial topics of her paintings, that was Frida. She wasn’t going to simply paint Cassatt or Morisot’s recurring theme of mother and child. Frida painted how she saw life and often, her vision of life was dark. Her works can be found in museums worldwide but nowhere will provide you with as much appreciation of her work as the Blue House. Personal touches of Frida’s can be found in rooms throughout the house, including walls with tiny pots that spell the names of Diego and Frida next to a pair of doves tying a lovers’ knot. My favorite room in the house was probably the kitchen. It was typically Mexican-bright yellow tile and floor, blue and yellow tile counters and a long yellow table, as well as large earthenware pots, utensils, and glassware that came from various states in Mexico known for their artisan wares and crafts.

Cons to visiting: No interior photography is allowed (which always disappoints me) and it was rather hard to find. D and I spent quite a while (not on purpose) wandering the streets in search of the Blue House. Unlike other tourist attractions more in a city center type area, the Blue House is literally in a residential area with no prominent signs pointing you to it. I can only imagine the residents’ excitement over the hordes of motor coach buses and tourists coming into their otherwise quiet neighborhood every day.

Conclusion: If you happen to have some free time while staying in Mexico City, go visit. If you are interested in Latin American studies, go visit. If you are a Salma Hayek fan and and enjoyed her starring in the 2002 film Frida, go visit. More importantly, if you are at all someone who appreciates art, without a doubt go and experience The Blue House. It truly is the Latin American version of Monet’s Giverny in France. The house is so much Frida’s heart and soul and is a beautiful living tribute to her as an artist and as a woman.

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