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Frida Kahlo's 'Subdued' Selfie Returns to UT Austin's Ransom Center

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News
Frida Kahlo's known for her talent, creativity, productivity, personal relationships, and her distinctive look.

A globe-trotting Frida Kahlo portrait, once displayed in Austin, has returned to its former home.

The painting, “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird,” was on display in Austin until 1990, when it left to travel the world. It bounced around the globe for 25 years, and was featured in exhibitions in Spain, Australia, Canada, and most recently in New York. But now, this self-portrait of the distinctive artist is back at UT Austin’s Harry Ransom Center, where it will remain for the next two years.

The Harry Ransom Center
A map highlights all the cities the Frida Kahlo portrait has visited, including Austin's sister city, Adelaide, Australia.

The famously monobrowed artist painted other well-known self-portraits, many of them bloody, with body parts hanging out, or with her heart outside her body. But “Thorn Necklace” comes across more subdued. Kahlo, titular thorn necklace draped around her neck and over her shoulders, is pictured from the chest up against a background of lush plants. She’s got a cat on one shoulder, a monkey on the other.

“She’s staring out at us, literally through us. She seems to be in an act of contemplation,” says Ransom Center Curator of Art Peter Mears.

Kahlo’s “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird” is on display at the Harry Ransom Center lobby from now until December 2017.

Audrey McGlinchy is KUT's housing reporter. She focuses on affordable housing solutions, renters’ rights and the battles over zoning. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.
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