Olmedo, a former wife of a Mexican president, was a close friend of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Many years after Frida’s death, Olmedo and Diego rekindled their friendship. She soon became Diego’s last wife.
At the end of her life — after Diego died — Olmedo left her sprawling home to the public, including her collection of pre-Hispanic, colonial, folk and modern art. It’s also home to a collection of works by Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Angelina Beloff. The five-building complex is surrounded by lush green lawns dotted with pre-Spanish sculptures, blossoming purple trees and potted flowers.
We toured the museums on the site, though I was captivated by the peacocks. I may have been a little obsessive about photographing them. I hope you don’t mind. I always get a little bit sad when they tell me I can’t take pictures inside museums, but I did sneak one in the entrance. Sometimes I’ll sneak a little bit harder, but not when the staff chastises you for pointing and putting the edge of your shoe on the black line.
I’m not Frida’s biggest fan, and I probably have some crude understanding of her actual life, so I think it’s a little bit weird that I got teary eyed standing in a gallery of her work. I kept thinking, my face is literally four inches from something she created, from paint she manipulated on a canvas, from something she stared at for hours. I really don’t get it; she was such a tortured soul. But I admire something about her and definitely felt privileged to see so many of her pieces, her clothing and her sketches up close and personal.