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News — Kahlo Collection Acquired

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Indígenas de Ixtlahuaca, México, a rare Kahlo image of people
Indígenas de Ixtlahuaca, México, a rare Kahlo image of people

Susan Frost donates Guillermo Kahlo Collection

RELEASED April 30, 2013

Susan Toomey Frost, a San Antonio collector of art, artifacts, books, and antiquities, recently donated to the Wittliff Collections, housed at Texas State University in San Marcos, her Guillermo Kahlo collection consisting of 120 photographs, postcards, booklets, and books.

Kahlo, father of artist Frida Kahlo, is best known for his architectural photography of early 20th-century Mexico. Frost’s donation includes rarities such as Indígenas de Ixtlahuaca, one of the few Kahlo images of people, a sleeved booklet of ten views titled Recuerdo de la Ciudad de México, and a bifold panoramic postcard of a street scene with the Santo Domingo Cathedral. There are also 14 silver gelatin architectural prints of churches and buildings in Cholula, Metepec, Mexico City, Puebla, San Miguel de Allende, Tepotzotlán, and Tlaxcala.

Carl Wilhelm Kahlo was born October 26, 1872, in Baden-Baden, Germany. At 19, he traveled to Veracruz and subsequently moved to Mexico City where he became known as Guillermo Kahlo. He started as an apprentice to the photographer Antonio Calderón and opened his own studio in 1901, garnering commissions from the periodicals El mundo ilustrado and Semanario ilustrado. Beginning in 1904, he received government commissions to inventory the nation’s monuments, including churches near the capitol building and the former presidential residence in Chapultepec Park. Kahlo suffered throughout his life with epilepsy and died peacefully in his sleep in April 1941.

In addition to the Kahlo materials, the Wittliff houses two previous donations from Frost: her comprehensive collection of works by photographer Hugo Brehme, and a significant archive of materials by photographer Luis Márquez. She also donated a table inlaid with San Jose tiles celebrating the 1936 Texas Centennial. Susan Toomey Frost is the author of Timeless Mexico: The Photographs of Hugo Brehme, published in the Wittliff’s Southwestern & Mexican Photography Collection book series with the University of Texas Press (2011) and Colors on Clay from Trinity University Press (2009).

These collections, as well as original works by, and publications about, hundreds of other photographers, are available for researchers to view in the Wittliff Collections reading room. To set up a research appointment, please contact the photography curator, Carla Ellard, at or 512-245-1399.

Mexico City street scene with Church of Santo Domingo by Guillermo Kahlo
Mexico City street scene with Church of Santo Domingo by Guillermo Kahlo