DIEGO RIVERA -- MY ART, MY LIFE: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY (WITH GLADYS MARCH)
SECOND TIME WITH FRIDA
I HAD LITTLE TIME to think about the article because that very afternoon I received the bad news that Frida was extremely sick. Everything else flew out of my mind and I hastened to seek the advice of our good friend Dr. Leo Eloesser. Dr. Eloesser was very well known in California, both for his great professional skill and for the free service he gave to the poor. He advised me to arrange for Frida to come to San Francisco. He even telephoned her himself, informing her that he disapproved of the medical treatment she was receiving in Mexico.
When Frida arrived in San Francisco, she was suffering such severe pain that she could hardly move. Dr. Eloesser immediately placed her in St. Luke's Hospital where, thanks to his ministrations, Frida rapidly gained. When she was up again, Dr. Eloesser advised a change of scene as the next step in therapy. He endorsed her choice of a visit to New York, which held many pleasant associations for her and where she had many friends. The excitement of New York kept her from dwelling on her unhappiness, and when she returned to San Francisco, she seemed her old self again.
Now I asked Dr. Eloesser what he thought had been making her ill and what could be done to help her stay well. The stresses and strains of the past months had borne on her heavily, but they were gone now, except for one -- the fact of our separation. Dr. Eloesser explained to me that our separation had affected her gravely and might again weigh on her with bad results.
On hearing this, I resolved to try and persuade Frida to marry me again. Because of my love for her, I had already begged her several times to remarrv me, but without success. Now Dr. Eloesser came to my aid. Our separation, he said truthfully, was having a bad effect upon both of us.
In fairness to Frida, he warned her, that though I loved her more than ever and while I ardently wanted her back, she should realize that I was an incorrigible philanderer and in that respect would never change. Some men, he explained, were simply incapable of sexual fidelity and from his medical knowledge of me, he could definitely say that I was one of these men.
Dr. Eloesser's candor somewhat complicated my task of regaining Frida. But when she finally consented, it was with a clear appreciation of what she could expect. For her part, she asked for certain conditions: that she would provide for herself financially from the proceeds of her own work; that I would pay one half of our household expenses -- nothing more; and that we would have no sexual intercourse. In explaining this last stipulation, she said that, with the images of all my other women flashing through her mind, she couldn't possibly make love with me, for a psychological barrier would spring up as soon as I made advances.
I was so happy to have Frida back that I assented to everything, and on my fifty-fourth birthday, December 8, 1940, Frida and I were married for the second time.