I once went to a grad school costume party with three different Frida Kahlos and can’t remember the last time I visited a museum gift shop without seeing her self-portraits printed on coffee mugs alongside those of Van Gogh. But while her paintings are some of the most famous and recognizable in the art world, perhaps surprisingly, up until now, there have been no known recordings of her voice.
According to The Guardian, the National Sound Library of Mexico has found what they believe might be a recording of Kahlo reading her essay “Portrait of Diego” in a profile of her husband, Diego Rivera, for a 1955 episode of a radio program called El Bachiller, which aired after her death in 1954. In a translation of the recording by Agence France-Presse, the voice that could be Kahlo’s reads:
“He is a gigantic, immense child, with a friendly face and a sad gaze. His high, dark, extremely intelligent and big eyes rarely hold still. They almost come out of their sockets because of their swollen and protuberant eyelids – like a toad’s. They allow his gaze to take in a much wider visual field, as if they were built especially for a painter of large spaces and crowds.”
Historians are still working to determine whether the recording is absolutely Kahlo, who, according to Sound Library director Pável Granados, is one of the voices visitors most request hearing:
“Frida’s voice has always been a great enigma, a never-ending search. Until now, there had never been a recording of Frida Kahlo.”