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Art History Research Methods

Example Object

Frida Kahlo, Mexican, 1907-1954
My Grandparents, My Parents, and I (Family Tree)
Work Type
Oil and tempera on zinc
12 1/8 x 13 5/8" (30.7 x 34.5 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art
Gift of Allan Roos, M. D., and B. Mathieu Roos
Accession Number
The Museum of Modern Art: Painting and Sculpture
ID Number
Image and original data provided by the The Museum of Modern Art

Museums & Archives

New York is rich with museums, and those museums have libraries and research collections and knowledgeable people to help you. Take advantage.

Guggenheim Library & Archives

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries and Research Centers

MoMA Research Resources

Whitney Library

Hunter College also houses the Hunter College Archives & Special Collections, containing information relevant to the history of the College from its inception.


Background Information

Build your foundation of knowledge, before you try finding books and articles on your object. 

Using Reference Sources

Excerpt from the Grove Art Online/Oxford Art Online Biography

Kahlo’s art was greatly affected by the enthusiasm and support of Diego Rivera, to whom she showed her work in 1929 and to whom she was married in the same year. She shared his Communism and began to espouse his belief in Mexicanidad, a passionate identification with indigenous roots that inspired many Mexican painters of the post-revolutionary years. In Kahlo’s second Self-portrait (oil on masonite, 1929Mexico City, Mrs D. Olmedo priv. col., see Herrera, 1983, pl. II), she no longer wears a luxurious European-style dress, but a cheap Mexican blouse, Pre-Columbian beads and Colonial-period earrings. In subsequent years she drew on Mexican popular art as her chief source, attracted by its fantasy, naivety, and fascination with violence and death. Kahlo was described as a self-invented Surrealist by André Breton in his 1938 introduction for the brochure of the first of three Kahlo exhibitions held during her lifetime, but her fantasy was too intimately tied to the concrete realities of her own existence to qualify as Surrealist. She denied the appropriateness of the term, contending that she painted not dreams but her own reality.


Mine bibliographies from reference sources in order to find more sources: articles, books, exhibition catalogs, etc.

Below is one from the entry in Oxford Art Online about Frida Kahlo:


T. DEL CONDE: Vida de Frida Kahlo (Mexico City, 1976)

R. TIBOL: Frida Kahlo: Crónica, testimonios y aproximaciones (Mexico City, 1977)

H. HERRERA: Frida Kahlo: Her Life, Her Art (diss., New York, City U., 1981)

Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti (exh. cat. by L. MULVEY and others, London, Whitechapel A.G., 1982)

H. HERRERA: Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo (New York, 1983)

M. DRUCKER: Frida Kahlo: Torment and Triumph in her Life and Art (New York, 1991)

H. HERRERA: Frida Kahlo: The Paintings (London, 1991)

T. DEL CONDE: Frida Kahlo: La pintura y el mito (Mexico City, 1992)

C. FUENTES: The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait (New York, c.1995) [intro.]

Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism (exh. cat., San Francisco, CA, MOMA, 1996)

Tarsila do Amaral, Frida Kahlo and Amelia Peláez (exh. cat. by L. MONTREAL AGUSÍ and others, Barcelona, Cent. Cult. Fund. Caixa Pensions, 1997)

M. A. LINDAUER: Devouring Frida: The Art History and Popular Celebrity of Frida Kahlo (Middleton, CT, 1998)

H. PRIGNITZ-PODA: Frida Kahlo: The Painter and Her Work (New York, 2004)

Frida Kahlo (exh. cat., ed. E. DEXTER and T. BARSON; London, Tate, 2005)

For further bibliography see Rivera (y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez), Diego.