What the Water Gave Me (1938) by Frida Kahlo

What the Water Gave Me - Kahlo, Frida - 1938 - 2

Artwork Information

TitleWhat the Water Gave Me
ArtistFrida Kahlo
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions91 x 70.5 cm
Art MovementSurrealism
Current LocationDaniel Filipacchi Collection, Paris, France
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About What the Water Gave Me

One of the most famous pieces of artwork by Mexican Surrealist painter Frida Kahlo is her oil on canvas painting titled “What The Water Gave Me”. This self-portrait was created in 1938 and it showcases the artist in a bathtub surrounded by grey water. On the canvas, there are symbols and items used to convey her personal story to her audience. Kahlo painted herself, specifically her legs and feet, lying in a sea of water; a symbol for emotion combined with acceptance. By titling the work “Lo que el agua me dio” (“What the water gave me”), she further conveys a powerful message to viewers.

This piece of artwork speaks to experiences that were emblematic for Frida Kahlo’s life as an artist. She captured this raw emotion into her art that could be interpreted through whatever context one wanted. Her use of vivid colors and meaningful items is what makes this painting truly one of a kind. It is clear that through this painting, she was able to communicate an underlying message to the world – it speaks not only her story but many others’ experiences as well.

The sentiment behind What The Water Gave Me continued in many of Frida Kahlo’s other works such as Tree Of Hope created in 1946. Every piece of her artwork communicates with viewers on another level- encouraging individuals to look beyond what they may see at first glance.

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