Museo Dolores Olmedo

Av Mexico 5843, La Noria, Xochimilco, 16030 Ciudad de México, CDMX
55 5555 0891

Dolores “Lola” Olmedo was a woman of humble origins, she was born in the Tacubaya part of Mexico City in 1908 and her father died when she was young after contracting meningitis due to a hard fall. Her family was just plain poor during the Mexican revolution as the city was in a state of disarray and food supplies were intermittent at best, her mother’s teacher’s salary was barely enough and she helped out by teaching drawing classes to small children. In 1924 she met Diego Rivera and the two began a lifelong relationship based on their mutual love for art.

Her marriage to American Howard Phillips introduced her to many notable artists of the time and she formed a sort of intellectual group that included Carlos Pellicer, Salvador Novo, Xavier Villaurrutia, and Jaime Torres Bodet. She was extremely beautiful. After divorcing Phillips she needed to work and made some investments in brick companies, finally making a fortune for herself and beginning to really construct her own personal art collection. When Diego Rivera passed away in 1957, he provided her with legal authority over his work and named her as one of 10 heirs. She bought an estate in Xochimilco, “La Noria”, and moved there in the ’60s, finally passing away in 2002.

La Noria is now the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Xochimilco, it contains 145 paintings by Diego Rivera, 25 by Frida Kahlo, 43 by Mexican-Russian artist Angelina Beloff, and over 600 pre-hispanic artifacts. The collection is housed inside a colonial construction from the XVII century, which is surrounded by beautiful gardens filled with vegetation; some animals roam the premises too, such as peacocks and xoloiztcuintles, a hairless Mexican dog breed that’s warm to the touch. Some of the notable paintings by Rivera that shouldn’t be missed are 1931’s “Frozen Assets”, 1914’s “Young Man with a Fountain Pen” (an interesting self-portrait painted in cubist style) and a nude portrait of Kahlo that reminds the viewer of their love and intimacy. Some notable works by Kahlo include 1944’s “The Broken Column” (which portrays her back problems and searing pain), and 1945’s “Without Hope” (about her difficulties in gaining weight). Access to the museum is $100 pesos for foreigners and $50 pesos for Mexican nationals.

Dolores Olmedo was a vivacious woman who led a turbulent and interesting life, she envisioned “La Noria” to be the final place where her wealth of artworks could be enjoyed by the Mexican public and by foreign visitors. It holds one of the largest Kahlo collections in the world, and the largest Rivera collection in the world; if you’re a big fan of this artistic couple or even just a casual fan of Mexican art, the Dolores Olmedo Museum needs to be on your schedule.


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