frida in negative print

Lucienne Bloch grew up surrounded by many of the great intellectuals and artists in the interwar period after her father emigrated to the United States in 1917. This might explain her lack of interest in fame and power. After all, Lucienne’s father, Ernest Bloch was a respected and renown Swiss composer. Despite her considerable artistic merit, she has principally been known as the confidante of Frida Kahlo as well as husband Diego Rivera. It has been through the expansive studies of Frida Kahlo mania that Lucienne’s life has received greater attention.

---Looking at Bloch’s photographs was like getting a secret glimpse into a side of Frida not shown in other photos, or revealed in her own self-portraits. Certainly Frida was always aware of the camera, and faced it head on- as she faced most of her life,...Read More: image:

The relation between Kahlo and surrealism has been a recurring point of interest, one which touched on sexuality and feminism. Kahlo was studied by Andre Breton, in fact Breton completed his surrealist manifesto while a guest of Rivera and Kahlo in Mexico. Frida Kahlo often had graphic content, but it was never gratuitous; never fitting the manufactured mold of surrealism;  her imagery was religious or medical, and, and univeral in its haunting evocations.  It was an ingenuous depiction of her life and her dreamlife, that resonated with a mystery and spontaneity and Blochs photographs and intimacy with Kahlo allows us to peer into this unguarded zone. What Bloch confirms is that manufactured content is to be avoided like a terminal illness;whether a contrived “cutesy” sentimentalism that pop culture explores or the phony grotesquery of what passes as late figuration.

…In 1935 Frida Kahlo, found out that her husband, the famous Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera, was having an affair with her sister. In a fit of rage she chopped off her long black hair which Rivera loved, just to spite him. Along with her hair she shed her trademark Mexican frilly skirts for more masculine Western attire. Then she did what most women would do. She went to a friend for comfort….

---They were drawn together by a mutual scorn for social traditions which dictated how women were supposed to behave. As Allen stated, like Kahlo, Bloch was not one to “stay within the lines…” “They drank Tequila and sang in the streets,” recalled Allen. When the elevator boys at the Barbizon hotel snubbed Frida, “…she called one of them ‘a son of a bitch,’” wrote Bloch, who found it “refreshing to finally be around someone who will speak their mind and not give a damn about the consequences!” Bloch and Kahlo were also connected by left wing politics. Kahlo went on to have an affair with Leon Trotsky. Bloch painted protest signs for the labor strikes and took a series of photos documenting these rallies,...Read More: image:

…That friend was Lucienne Bloch, an artist and assistant to Rivera. Frida showed up at Bloch’s house with her newly shorn hair, picked up a Cinzano bottle and pointed at it playfully, as if to drown her sorrows. In that instant Bloch pulled out her camera and snapped a photo of Frida melancholic as always, but undefeated . According to Bloch: “The Cinzano bottle she holds, represents the unborn child she could never give him.” This is the Frida I love. The Frida who has become an icon to women all over.Read More:

Filled with excitement at this opportunity, Lucienne reached out to shake the hand of the wife of Diego Rivera, an intriguing young woman now standing in front of her. This beautiful and exotic woman had dark eyebrows that met in the middle ‘like a bird in flight’. She was colorfully dressed in traditional Mexican costume, and as Lucienne reached enthusiastically to greet the compelling stranger, she was greeted back with the words, “I hate you!”…

---In addition, as is evident in her art and in her diaries Kahlo was intensely man-focused. It is interesting she has become a heroine despite her dramatically anti-feminist obsession with a man who treated her badly. Bloch wrote, “Frida actually cried and told me the hardships of her life with Diego. How irregular and different it is from what she was used to, and how, if she holds her own, he is ready to say, ‘You don’t love me!’”---Read More: image:

…Frida Kahlo had been watching her husband and Lucienne in deep conversation all evening. But instead of shying away from the complex stranger, Lucienne was more fascinated than ever. To have this woman, this stranger, say something so absolutely real and not give a damn about the consequences, was refreshing. Lucienne was becoming more and more appalled by the decadence of the rich in the face of poverty that the rest of society was living in. Read More:



She was the photographer whose sneak pictures taken behind enemy lines on May, 8, 1933, are the sole visual record of the great Diego Rivera’s ill-fated Rockefeller Center fresco with its doomed depiction of Lenin….

---Lucienne Bloch photo. 1935. Read More:

…At a time of economic distress, when capitalism itself seemed vulnerable to competing currents of social change, if anybody was going to pin Lenin on a capitalist wall it was Diego Rivera, the fiery Mexican muralist whose artistic acclaim was matched only by his reputation as a fiercely committed, if renegade, Communist.Read More:
Bloch and Kahlo were also connected by similar family themes. If Kahlo struggled with Rivera’s constant betrayals, Bloch grew up in a house where her mercurial father brought his mistresses to the dinner table. So when Rivera let loose his explosive temper, or betrayed Kahlo for other women, Bloch was not shocked the way some women might have been. Nor was she shocked by Frida’s bisexuality. And according to Allen, Bloch’s friendship with Frida was special, because she was one of the few women friends who had not slept with either Kahlo or Rivera. Read More:

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