This essay is intended to draw a comparison between Jack Pollock’s career and marriage with that of Frida Kahlo in Julie Taymore`s `Frida. Frida (2002) was based on the life of the Mexican Painter, Frida Kahlo. Her art was a combination of Realism, Symbolism and Surrealism and portrayed her tortured life. Pollock (2000) was based on the life of an American abstract painter Jackson Pollock. The film captured his iconic personal and professional struggles from the 1940s to 1950s.
Pollock’s career in New York started in 1941 while living with his brother in a tiny apartment and showing his paintings to small group shows. Frida had an accident with a car trolley and her bedridden state forced her to make an admission into art.
In 1949, Jackson Pollock was a force to reckon with and a great American revolutionary. The “Life Magazine” called him “the greatest living painter in the United States”. However, fame and stardom drove him to the edge and he became a manic-depressive, an alcoholic and was even hospitalized for sometime. As opposed to Pollock, Kahlo had her first exhibit in Mexico in 1953. Critics from her native country noted her paintings as a biography of her agony and ecstasy. She used her painful experiences from her accident, marriage and various miscarriages to draw colorful self-portraits.
Pollock’s passionate relationship with fellow painter Lee Krasner in 1941 was given a lot of attention in the film. Krasner proved to be his companion, agent, and friend. She dealt with his alcoholicism, emotional instability and psychological problems in a remarkable way. She put her own career and life on hold for her husband. Finally, she convinced him to move away from city life and Pollock managed to regain his artistic brilliance from this change. Throughout the film, Pollock had many affairs. One of them was with Ruth Klingman, a much younger woman. His marriage to Krasner was stormy, shaky and extremely unpredictable.
Frida Kahlo approached the renowned Mexican artist Diego Rivera for advice on art but the mentorship soon converted into an intimate relationship. The duo had fiery tempers and their marriage was tumultuous. Both had extramarital affairs. Kahlo had an affair with men and women. Leon Trotsky was among her lovers while Rivera had an affair with Kahlo’s younger sister Cristina. They married twice and the second marriage was even worse than the first.
Pollock’s death in a car accident was the ultimate tragedy leaving the art world with a gaping hole. Frida’s health worsened after the amputation of her leg and she died on July 13 1954.