On March 1st, 1933, 26-year-old Mexican painter Frida Kahlo wrote this letter to her fellow artist, 46-year-old Georgia O’Keeffe. The American artist was in the doldrums. She’d failed to deliver on a $1500 commission to create a mural for the powder room at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, been hospitalized with ‘psychoneurosism’ and been despatched to Bermuda in the hope of achieving mental equilibrium. She’d not paint until 1934 after a 13-month hiatus. Kahlo, staying in Detroit while her husband Diego Rivera worked on 27 frescoes at the Institute of the Arts, heard of O’Keefe’s malaise.
The artists had met in 1931, when Kahlo and Rivera can come to New York for a retrospective on Rivera’s paintings at the Museum of Modern Art.
Kahlo, who had not long before miscarried, been hospitalised and buried her mother, wrote in the spirit of comradeship.
Was wonderful to hear your voice again. Every day since I called you and many times before months ago I wanted to write you a letter. I wrote you many, but every one seemed more stupid and empty and I torn them up. I can’t write in English all that I would like to tell, especially to you. I am sending this one because I promised it to you. I felt terrible when Sybil Brown told me that you were sick but I still don’t know what is the matter with you. Please Georgia dear if you can’t write, ask [Alfred] Stieglitz to do it for you and let me know how are you feeling will you ? I’ll be in Detroit two more weeks. I would like to tell you every thing that happened to me since the last time we saw each other, but most of them are sad and you mustn’t know sad things now. After all I shouldn’t complain because I have been happy in many ways though. Diego is good to me, and you can’t imagine how happy he has been working on the frescoes here. I have been painting a little too and that helped. I thought of you a lot and never forget your wonderful hands and the color of your eyes. I will see you soon. I am sure that in New York I will be much happier. If you still in the hospital when I come back I will bring you flowers, but it is so difficult to find the ones I would like for you. I would be so happy if you could write me even two words. I like you very much Georgia.