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 Margarita, Matilde, Adriana, Wilhelm, Magdalena (Frida), Cristina
Parent(s) Jakob Heinrich Kahlo
Henriette Kaufmann

Carl Wilhelm Kahlo Kauffman (26 October 1871 – 14 April 1941), commonly known as Guillermo Kahlo, was a German-Mexican photographer. He photographically documented important architectural works, churches, streets, landmarks, as well as industries and companies in Mexico at the beginning of the 20th century; meaning that his work has not only artistic value but also historical and documental importance. He was the father of artist Frida Kahlo, who painted his portrait.


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.[1] Frida Kahlo maintained that he was of Hungarian Jewish descent.[1] One recent book, Fridas Vater: Der Fotograf Guillermo Kahlo by Gaby Franger and Rainer Huhle, traced Kahlo's genealogy, and stated 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."[2]

Guillermo Kahlo and Matilde Calderón

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.

He married María Cardena in August, 1893.[3] 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.


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.


  1. ^ a b Herrera, Hayden (1983). A Biography of Frida Kahlo. New York: HarperCollins. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-06-008589-6. 
  2. ^ Ronnen, Meir (20 April 2006). "Frida Kahlo's father wasn't Jewish after all". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  3. ^ "Maria Cardena Geneaology". 2015. Retrieved 2015. 
  • Coronel Rivera, Juan. et al. Guillermo Kahlo fotógrafo 1872-1941. Vida y obra. CNCA / INBA. México 1993.

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