Guillermo Kahlo

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Guillermo Kahlo
Guillermo Kahlo - Self-portrait - Google Art Project.jpg
Guillermo Kahlo in 1920
Born Carl Wilhelm Kahlo
26 October 1871
Pforzheim, Grand Duchy of Baden
Died 14 April 1941(1941-04-14) (aged 69)
Spouse(s) María Cardena
Matilde Calderón y González
Children Frida Kahlo
Parents Jakob Heinrich Kahlo
Henriette Kaufmann

Carl Wilhelm Kahlo (26 October 1871 – 14 April 1941) was a German-Mexican photographer and father of artist Frida Kahlo, who painted his portrait. He was an ancestor of actress Dulce María.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Guillermo Kahlo and Matilde Calderón

Kahlo was born in Pforzheim, Grand Duchy of Baden, German Empire (now in Baden-Württemberg, Germany), the son of jeweller Jakob Heinrich Kahlo and Henriette Kaufmann.[2] Frida Kahlo maintained that he was of Hungarian Jewish descent.[2] One recent book, Fridas Vater: Der Fotograf Guillermo Kahlo by Gaby Franger and Rainer Huhle, asserts that "despite the legend propagated by Frida," Guillermo did not have Jewish Hungarian roots, but was born to Protestant parents and "came from families accommodated in Frankfurt and Pforzheim."[3] Nevertheless, more recently, Magdalena Zavala Bonachea, the director of the Studio Museum Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo at the Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico, claims that the Kahlos were actually a conservative Catholic family.[4]

He attended the University of Nuremberg. His father paid him to travel to Mexico in 1891 as he did not get on with his stepmother. In Mexico, he changed his name from Wilhelm to Guillermo.

In 1901 he set up a photographic studio, working for El Mundo Ilustrado and Semanario Ilustrado. He was commissioned by the government to do architectural photographs, probably his best work. He also took photographs of churches with other photographers for a six-volume survey in the 1920s.

He married María Cardena in 1895. The night she died giving birth to their third child, he asked Antonio Calderón for his daughter Matilde’s hand in marriage. After the marriage, Kahlo sent his and Maria’s daughters away to be raised in a convent.

He is played by Roger Rees in the movie Frida.


  2. ^ a b Herrera, Hayden (1983). A Biography of Frida Kahlo. New York: HarperCollins. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-06-008589-6. 
  3. ^ Ronnen, Meir (20 April 2006). "Frida Kahlo's father wasn't Jewish after all". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  4. ^ Diego y Frida nos visitan, The German photographer Guillermo Kahlo, ‘Frida's father, it is proved that was catholic and not of jewish descent as many believe", claimed Zabala
  • Coronel Rivera, Juan. et al. Guillermo Kahlo fotógrafo 1872-1941. Vida y obra. CNCA / INBA. México 1993.

External links[edit]