A Woman to Know: Guadalupe Marín

Lupe was a beautiful, spirited animal, but her jealousy and possessiveness gave our life together a wearying, hectic intensity. — Diego Rivera

Lupe was a beautiful, spirited animal, but her jealousy and possessiveness gave our life together a wearying, hectic intensity. — Diego Rivera

(image via Flickr)

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Guadalupe may be the least famous of Diego Rivera's wives. But beyond her marriage to the famously hot-headed muralist, she lived her own life worthy of examination. 

Lupe grew up in Guadalajara, moving to Mexico City when she married Diego in 1922. Their romance (like his with Frida) is surrounded by rumors and stories — stories about how she is hidden in his murals, posing as goddesses and idols; how Lupe would tear up Diego’s paintings as punishment for his many affairs; how she once ground up his favorite sculpture and blended it into his dinner soup; how she even taught other women (including Frida) how to cook her husband’s favorite meals.

The marriage ended in 1928, but the two remained close. Both Frida and Diego painted portraits of Lupe (Diego’s version is pictured above), and Frida and Lupe had their own blow-ups (one story has it that Lupe took scissors to Frida’s portrait after a particularly bad fight).

But Diego and Frida weren’t the only artistic relationships in Lupe’s life. She married again in 1929, to the poet Jorge Cuesta, and she modeled for many other artists in Mexico, including the photographer Edward Weston. In 1938, she even wrote a novel, La Única, that many suspected was but a thinly-veiled a memoir of her time with these famous artists. Though the book was banned for many years because of its, um, “erotic nature,” today scholars regard it as a hallmark of Mexican feminist literature.

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