Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo
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Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  23,811 ratings  ·  225 reviews
Hailed by readers and critics across the country, this engrossing biography of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo reveals a woman of extreme magnetism and originality, an artist whose sensual vibrancy came straight from her own experiences: her childhood near Mexico City during the Mexican Revolution; a devastating accident at age eighteen that left her crippled and unable to bea...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Harper Perennial (first published 1983)
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Thomas
Sep 12, 2007 Thomas added it
Shelves: biography
Have not read this book- I have no reason not think it is good. Just wanted to comment on the cover.
I always hate buying an edition of a book with movie art on the front. Nothing ruins a copy of a Lord of the Rings book like stills from the films on the cover. Carrying that around just makes you look like such a joiner. I know-- it is big money marketing, and there is no stopping it.
But I gotta say, with an artist like Frida Kahlo, who painted so many incredible self protraits, it is just so lam...more
Mary
This is not an accurate portrayal of Frida's life. She was more of a revolutionary than this book makes her out to be. She was also a gender-bending feminist, and a brilliant painter. Herrera makes her out to be a Diego obsessed, pain obsessed sack of potatoes, and i'm not buying it. Herrera also infers several things to be true from Frida's paintings. She frequently ignores literal translations from paintings including text painted in that reveals the meaning completely on it's own.

I am very s...more
Zanna
This is a long book of a rather short life: Frida Kahlo was injured in a traffic incident when she was eighteen and spent the rest of her life in pain and 'invalidism'. Regardless of this, her persona was so vibrant and vital that her magnetism outshone her vivid, charismatic work, and if she had lived thirty more years the book would doubtless be three hundred pages longer.

But it would have been completely different. Frida would probably not have begun to paint if she had not been immobilised f...more
Angie
Frida Kahlo was such a complex indiviual, unfortunately Hayden Herrera simplifies this multifaceted artists life and passions. Like many Kahlo scholars in the 1970's she bases many of her ideas on Kahlo's work on gender stereotypes and assumptions. Read "Devouring Frida" if you are interested in a REAL analysis of the artist's life.
Mahsa
Apr 24, 2008 Mahsa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Mahsa by: قسمتهايي از فيلمش را ديده بودم
تا قبل از اين فريدا را نمي شناختم و خيلي تحت تاثير شخصيت مقاوم و جاه طلب اين نقاش و هنرمند بزرگ قرار گرفتم . داشتم فكر مي كردم فقط يكي از حادثه هاي وحشتناك زندگيش براي تباه شدن زندگي بيشتر زنان ايراني كافي است ! كاش زناني مثل فريدا بيشتر از اين بودند به نظر من قابل افتخارند .
Chrissie
Most of us know about the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and how she suffered. Her suffering is unimaginable. The book begins with the details of her bout with polio and then her accident, when the bus she was riding in, in Mexico City, was hit by a tram. September 17, 1925. Her letters to her boyfriend, Alejandro Gómez Arias, are excruciating to read. He attempts to escape (her); she hangs on with an unrelenting fervor. Letter after letter are included in this book. (Stricter editing please!) Her...more
Tifnie
Oct 28, 2009 Tifnie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in art and Frida Kahlo
Shelves: biography
This was a fascinating book. I felt, while reading this book, I also got an art history lesson. I remember Frida Kahlo's art as being dark, vulgar, and somewhat childish, but I didn't really know the history behind the paintings and that of Frida's life story.

From a young age, Frida Kahlo was outgoing, outspoken, and a prankster. She lived life to the fullest and often got into trouble. Unfortunately, a horrific accident at age 18 changed the course of her life. Her paintings are mostly self por...more
Lisa Vegan
Oct 18, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kahlo fans, those interested in art and art history
Shelves: art, reviewed, non-fiction
I’d never enjoyed Frida Kahlo’s painting style until I saw the movie Frida. Then, I could see how her artwork reflected her life and I was able to appreciate all of her art, even though it’s not all easy to view. Her life was so incredibly full of pain and her art shows it, but I find it admirable that she was able to create the art at all. I looked forward to this art exhibition.

This is an excellent book that’s the exhibition catalog, and unlike some exhibition catalogs it is comprehensive. In...more
Jessica
An excellent biography: why did any more need to be written?? And I must make clear that I read this book in the D.F. in the 80's after seeing her home in Coyoacan, long before the Frida craze began...Yes, I was ahead of the curve! Yes I am a trendsetter! No I'm not a sheep! seriously, Kahlo is a great artist and I hate how commodified her life and her work have become. Some great artists have as their subject the self, and the self is as rich and vast a canvas as any.
Nafise 983
داستان زندگی نقاش مکزیکی بنام فریدا کالو.کسی که زندگیش هم مانند آثارش آزادی خواهانه بود.و به عصیان زنان در برابر شرایط اجتماعی شان میپردازد .کسی که عشاق زیادی داشت و در زندگی جنسی خود همه مرزها حتی جنسیت را نادیده میگرفت.(در بعضی نقدها خواندم که نقش اجتماعی او با فروغ فرخزاد شاعر توانمند ایرانی مقایسه شده بود!!!) در سال ۲۰۰۲ در هالیوود فیلمی با نام فریدا براساس زندگی او ساخته شد. .
Caroline
Frida Kahlo isn't my absolute favorite painter in terms of style, but that's more a matter of taste than anything else. She is without doubt a highly influential, groundbreaking artist, particularly within the field of women-as-subject. "Frida", however, is not so much a book about Kahlo's works as it is about her life. Which it should be, what with the fact that it's a biography and all.

Herrera constructs a detailed, engaging biography that examines the major events of Frida's life--and in part...more
Erin
I read this because the movie is a favorite. I think what fascinates me the most is that I really disliked Kahlo's style and looked somewhat askance at how much she painted herself before I read the book. But the more I read, the more I came to appreciate both - especially how autobiographical her paintings are.

At the same time, I was somewhat frustrated by the attention given to her art, or perhaps the way it was done. I feel like the issue here is with me rather than the biography itself - art...more
Doria
Sep 12, 2010 Doria rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: art-lovers, those interested in Frida Kahlo and Mexican Art and Mexican History
What a fascinating read! Granted, I love non-fiction, especially heavily footnoted biographies, and I recognize that they are not everyone's cup of tea, but still. I found this to be an excellent book, superbly well written, filled with fascinating details, meticulously researched, inclusive of all relevant details, whether they fit comfortably into our notion of who Frida was or not.

Herrera showed herself to be entirely lacking in prejudice in her devoted search for the truth of who Frida Kahl...more
Angelique
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kara Skye Smith
This book was even better than the much loved movie for authentic imagery about the artist, Frida Kahlo. I enjoyed the photographs - they really helped draw the reader into Kahlo's world particularly because the actress in the movie is so larger than life and the photos show Kahlo's frailty that her triumphs seemed even more astounding. The accident is also depicted in more detail and I realized how she really dealt with her injuries and her pain through her artwork. She was an artist who really...more
Marylin Haidri
This is the best damn biography I've ever read. Now, I usually avoid biographies like the plague, but this book is genuinely brilliant - if you have even a smattering of interest in Mexican history, the Communist movement, Surrealism, pain, anguish, women with fucking guts, tequila, sex, drunk parrots, dirty words in Spanish, color, paints; etc; etc; then pick it up and read a chapter or read it religiously cover to cover once a year like I do.
Lori
Beautifully written. I especially enjoyed the correspondence between Frida, Diego and her closest friends and allies. Although difficult at times to read about the pain she endured, I came away with a great respect for her and I believe a more balanced picture of her life. The interpretation of her paintings and inclusion of the color plates added to my understanding of her work.
Mary
I really enjoyed reading this book. Coincidentally I read it immediately prior to reading Kingsolver's Lacuna. She used this book as a major reference when writing that novel. Reading the two books so close in time enhanced my pleasure with both books.
Robin
There are a lot of Frida bios. I don't know if this is the best one, only the one I read. Don't be intimidated by the size. It reads well and is a gripping story, esp. if you've been thinking "I just don't get this art."
Maggie
I love this biography, start to finish. Frida amazes me, and the breadth of this book is astonishing.
Inga
This book really brought Frida to life and included interesting insights into her work...
Rob O'Leary
Very accessible bio of an amazing artist
Janet
I always thought of Frida Kahlo as a painter who had found her niche and appealed to a select audience. To me her works seemed one -dimensional. There is no denying that her works are compelling, mysterious, sensuous, and frequently disturbing. The author is a good writer who has thoroughly (sometimes too thoroughly) researched her subject. Besides Frida's relationship with Diego Rivera, the most fascinating aspect of the book, for me, was Frida's involvement with the worldwide Communist Party a...more
Susan  Odetta
My rating reflects the author's efforts and not the interest of the subject. Rated on Kalo, I would have awarded a rating of five, because Frida Kalo is an intriguing and compelling subject, whose life and art are inseparable and awe-inspiring.

I became interested in Kalo when I attended the San Francisco La Raza Homage to Frida Kalo (1978); her work grabbed my gut. Prints of her paintings The Little Deer and her self portraits with monkeys and with Diego Rivera looking out from her third eye hu...more
Diann Blakely
Whether or not you saw FRIDA, Julie Taymor’s recent biopic about the late Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, reading about the artist’s color-saturated world can provide a spectacular antidote to the gray weeks of winter. The best introduction remains Hayden Herrera’s learned, thoroughly enjoyable biography Frida, which served as the basis for the film. Herrera’s study is particularly valuable in its extensive, down-to-earth commentary on Kahlo’s paintings. To many new viewers, her self-portraits seem...more
Nadine
The biography of Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter and icon, who had a horrible accident in her youth which she suffered from all her life, gives an insight into her independent mind, her expressive art and her turbulent life. She was married to the famous Diego Rivera, who had countless affairs, found a way to deal with his ways and to cope with the health issues she had all her life, due to the accident, including several misscarriages by painting.
The narrative is a wonderful and effective mix of a...more
Jane
This is an in depth book of the life of Frida Kahlo. Hayden Herrera compiles her family’s early history, Frida’s personal letters, her art, her passion and her pain.
In 1910, the year the Mexican Revolution began Frida was born to a Mexican mother and German father.
She had polio at age 6, was gored by a steel rail in a tragic accident on the trolley in Mexico City at the age of 18, for which she never fully recovered. She spent most of her life bed ridden and in body casts, submitting to over 30...more
Joy H.
Mar 04, 2012 Joy H. marked it as watched-film-only
Shelves: biography, art, mexico
_Frida_ by Hayden Herrera ((first published 1983)
Added 4/4/12.
I did not read the book but on 4/4/12 I watched the movie via a Netflix DVD. The movie was excellent. Salma Hayek and Alfred Molina were mesmerizing together, playing artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The beautiful music won an Oscar for Best Music, Original Score, in 2003.
"Frida" (2002)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120679/
http://movies.netflix.com/Movie/Frida...
"A biography of artist Frida Kahlo, who channeled the pain of a crippl...more
Brian Burns
Life is suffering for the vast majority of people. And for the rest, it's suffering too. There's no denying that. What's remarkable about this woman, if at all, is she found release in art. The book begins with an account of Frida's tragic accident, followed by page after page of excruciating detail on the pain from Polio, her "failed?" marriage and marital woes, ad nauseum. It's easy to dismiss this book as depressing, but I see it differently. That in the darkest of hours, solace can be found...more
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Hayden Herrera is an art historian. She has lectured widely, curated several exhibitions of art, taught Latin American art at New York University, and has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. She is the author of numerous articles and reviews for such publications as Art in America, Art Forum, Connoisseur, and the New York Times, among others. Her books include Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo;...more
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