Tag Archives: Diego Rivera

DIA’s photo of the week – a rare portrait of Frida Kahlo

From the DIA's archive - Frida Kahlo overlooking Rivera Court circa 1932-33 (c) Detroit Institute of Arts

Last fall, I presented an informal talk for new members in celebration of the museum’s 125th anniversary. It seemed appropriate to look back on our long and illustrious history with a few historical photographs from the museum’s archive. DIA photographer Shell Hensleigh found the treasure above – a casual portrait of artist Frida Kahlo taken in the 1930s while her husband Diego Rivera completed his mural commission at the museum. Kahlo stood on the balcony overlooking the courtyard that we now refer to as Rivera Court.

Detroit Industry murals by Diego Rivera (c) Detroit Institute of Arts, 2011

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Robert Frank and his Detroit experiences on view in DIA photo exhibition opening March 3

Detroit River Rouge Plant, 1955, © Robert Frank

Detroit Experiences: Robert Frank Photographs, 1955 opens at the DIA this Wednesday, March 3. I thought readers might want a quick look at a few of the photographs in the exhibition (there are over 60 works – all from the DIA’s permanent collecction) which will be on view in the special exhibition galleries just off Rivera court where the Detroit Industry murals by Mexican artist Diego Rivera have been on view since 1932.

View of the DIA's Rivera court and Diego Rivera's Industry murals from 1932

View of the DIA's Rivera court and Diego Rivera's Industry murals from 1932

Both men found inspiration for their work at the Ford Motor Company River Rouge plant (known as “the Rouge” to locals) in Dearborn, Michigan.

Frank spent several days photographing at the Rouge in 1955. About a third of the exhibition includes Frank’s rare imagery from inside the huge complex. He also visited Belle Isle, the Gratiot Drive-In (found in Roseville, Michigan, and now demolished), as well as other familiar haunts around the city. Frank came to Detroit to photograph “how Americans live and work” – several of the Detroit images were reproduced in his book The Americans and appeared in later publications he created. The photographs were part of a larger group of nearly 27,000 images he took traveling across the U.S on a Guggenheim fellowship.