To Francisco Plancarte

Parents are an essential part in our lives and inspire us to determine what we will become in the future. Speaking of Father’s Day, a clear example is the relationship of Guillermo Kahlo and his daughter, Frida. Guillermo Kahlo, of German origin came to Mexico in Borussia freighter, from Germany. He changed his name to Guillermo and married Matilde Calderón y Gonzalez, and later was born Frida. Besides the blood bond that united, they shared a strong emotional bond. Both had suffered pain and disease, and the two found in the art a therapy for all ills. Throughout his life, Guillermo was devoted entirely to his daughter. At the onset of polio, the father helped with rehabilitation. He understood perfectly the situation of Frida because he had had an accident in Germany that damaged his brain and caused epileptic episodes for life. They always shared loneliness and disease. She learned from her father the art of photography from visual conception through development and printing process. Understood to balance the image and its elements, detail later applied to painting.

In her diaries, Frida describe Guillermo as an interesting and mysterious man, from whom she inherited her dark eyes and desolate air. He was present for several important episodes in the life of the artist. From the first moment when he showed the craft of photography to that time when he himself said to Diego Rivera to marry his daughter. The parental relationship is captured in the exchange of letters that took when Frida was in the United States. Where, besides of chronicle her daily activities, are a count of tips and thoughts. Somehow, daughter and father saw reflected to each other. In 1951, as a catharsis after the loss of his father in 1941, she honors his memory by doing a picture with a caption that read Here I painted my father Wilhelm Kahlo, Hungarian-German origin, artist-photographer by profession, of nature generous, intelligent and kind, brave because he suffered from epilepsy for sixty years but never gave up working and fought against Hitler. With adoration, her daughter Frida Kahlo”.

Analyzing this filial relationship is understood much more the work of Frida Kahlo and the strong influence her father had on her. Emotions, concerns and perceptions are translated into paint. The father figure is essential in the formation of a person, it bears full responsibility for what his offspring is the future and he will be the first reference and inspiration for his kids.


  • Herrera, Hayden. Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo. Nueva York, Harper and Row, 1983.
  • Tibol, Raquel. Escrituras: Frida Kahlo. México, Conaculta/Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2001.

Source and images: ©Frida Kahlo

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