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

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  43,535 Ratings  ·  309 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 ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Harper Perennial (first published 1983)
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Dec 30, 2013 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
Sep 20, 2015 Zanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 27, 2016 Caroline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-books, art
I am a little in love with Frida Kahlo, or perhaps I should say intensely so. Surely no-one can read this superb biography without being spun head over heels. Frida Kahlo was truly extraordinary.

frida 444

Vast beauty, intelligence, commitments, loyalties...... and most of all - vast creativity and artistic talent. On top of this, the book also contains a formidable and passionate love story, and an inspiring story about her battles against terrible physical injuries .

Frida was a gargantuan and lion-hea
May 09, 2013 Mary rated it it was ok
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
Sep 20, 2007 Angie rated it did not like it
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.
Addicted to Books
5 Mesmerizing Well researched- the best biography I have ever read stars!

This is the best biography I believe ever to be written or this is the best biography I have ever read.

I have never cared much about Frida Kahlo except the movie which I had been planning to watch for the past 5 years but never did. But now I really want to watch the movie. I saw this book laying next to Marlon by Peter Manso in the library and I have been reading it during the lunch and tea breaks and I finally finished i
Apr 24, 2008 Mahsa rated it it was amazing
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 .
Oct 17, 2012 Chrissie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio, art, text-checked, mexico, dnf
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
Oct 28, 2009 Tifnie rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 03, 2012 Jodi rated it really liked it
Shelves: art-books
I agree as some reviewers have noted that this book is a bit light on Frida's feminist and revolutionary traits, buys into gender stereotytpes somewhat and so misses the complexity of her character and that some of the art analysis given seems to contradict what Frida herself has written on paintings or just seem very unlikely and a bit of a stretch.

One reviewer wrote: 'Herrera makes her out to be a Diego obsessed, pain obsessed sack of shit, and I'm not buying it.'

There is a lot of careful and
Mar 15, 2013 Susan rated it liked it
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
Feb 12, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
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. .
Jan 28, 2008 Maggie rated it really liked it
I love this biography, start to finish. Frida amazes me, and the breadth of this book is astonishing.
Aug 10, 2014 Rob rated it really liked it
Very accessible bio of an amazing artist
Jul 25, 2016 ChapterOne rated it really liked it
Another one where I chose to watch the movie instead of read the book. Good one.
Aug 02, 2013 Inga rated it it was amazing
This book really brought Frida to life and included interesting insights into her work...
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
Sep 04, 2011 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
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
Sep 12, 2010 Doria rated it it was amazing
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
Que maravillosa obra acabo de terminar. Me encantó mucho cómo se describió la vida y muerte de Frida, todo muy bien detallado y estructurado. Para nada te aburres, te adentras en la vida de Frida, conoces su sufrimiento y me atrevo a decir que hasta uno llega a sentirlo. Me hizo admirar más a la pintora, por toda la vida que conllevó, conocer acerca de la historia detrás de sus magníficas obras de arte. Fue como un paseo por la era post revolucionaria, en la que el alrededor de Frida Kahlo está ...more
Jun 11, 2010 Angelique rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maritza Arteaga
Jul 11, 2015 Maritza Arteaga rated it liked it
Shelves: art
I was really in between a 3 and 4 so I decided on a 3.5. I thought Herrera wrote beautifully, especially because her tone really matched Frida's vivacity. I felt somehow though she played on Frida's myth too much. I also feel biographies can be problematic to write because a person is so complex that to grasp them successfully is always a challenge and at times I felt this was the case with Frida. Herrera interprets her paintings with great detail and enthusiasm (but this sometimes got tiring). ...more
Michelle Mj
Dec 17, 2015 Michelle Mj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didnt know anything about Frida before i read this book..had only seen her image about. I dont know why i choose this book on a library trip, but im glad i did. I have always appreciated art but never delved much further. This book awakened an interest in me for art history and culture. Frida was an extraordinary women. I would consider purchasing a copy of this book for my own collection. Great read!
Marylin Haidri
Sep 27, 2011 Marylin Haidri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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.
Jun 05, 2013 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 16, 2016 Annasnova rated it liked it
I was excited to pick this book to learn more about Frida Kahlo - I knew virtually nothing beforehand. Her story is fascinating but I wish this book was shorter and more to the point. The author did a lot of research on the subject.. and decided to include ALL OF IT in this volume. Since my interest was more general and less scholarly, it really was too much information.
Oct 27, 2016 Mary rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 20, 2007 Robin rated it really liked it
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."
Annette Bushkin
Aug 21, 2016 Annette Bushkin rated it really liked it
Although I do not like her style of art, I was interested in her life story and learning more about her after taking a brief art history class.
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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
More about Hayden Herrera...

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