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Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo

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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 bear children; her tempestuous marriage to muralist Diego Rivera and intermittent love affairs with men as diverse as Isamu Noguchi and Leon Trotsky; her association with the Communist Party; her absorption in Mexican folklore and culture; and her dramatic love of spectacle.

Here is the tumultuous life of an extraordinary twentieth-century woman -- with illustrations as rich and haunting as her legend.

528 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1983

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About the author

Hayden Herrera

31 books161 followers
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; Mary Frank; and Matisse: A Portrait. She is working on a critical biography of Arshile Gorky. She lives in New York City.

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5 stars
26,168 (41%)
4 stars
18,952 (30%)
3 stars
11,525 (18%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 724 reviews
Profile Image for Thomas.
123 reviews25 followers
September 13, 2007
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 lame to have a photo of Salma Hayek on the cover.
When I saw this book I had to laugh. If I ever buy this, you can bet it will have artwork by the actual artist on the front.
Profile Image for Mary.
5 reviews7 followers
May 9, 2013
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 sorry that this Kahlo has been subjected to pop culture by Herrera, and suggest looking elsewhere to find accurate information!

Suggested Reading: Devouring Frida by: Margaret A. Lindauer
Profile Image for Caroline.
503 reviews563 followers
June 27, 2016
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-hearted character, and she strode the world with flamboyant and anarchic exuberance.

The art historian Parker Lesley described her thus: "Everyone stared at Frida, who wore her Tehuana dress and all Diego's gold jewellery, and clanked like a knight in armour. She had the Byzantine opulence of the Empress Theodora, a combination of barbarism and elegance. She had two gold incisors and when she was all gussied up she would take off the plain gold caps, and put on gold caps with rose diamonds in front, so that her smile really sparkled."

Her love affair and two marriages with Diego Rivera were tempestuous. Both of them took lots of lovers, yet both were intensely jealous of one another's philandering. Under the emotional ructions there was however a deep love and friendship between them, and a huge respect for one another's work as artists. Both of them also shared a great commitment to Mexico, to the Communist Party, and had great loyalties to the ordinary working people of Mexico.

Frida 111

Frida's artwork is intensely personal. It is a visual diary of her life and feelings. And those feelings were often traumatic. Her life was very difficult, due to her injuries - which caused her massive problems throughout her life. In the early days only close personal friends would buy her paintings - they were just too raw, and often violent, for most people to be attracted to them. Later on, as she gained fame and respect, her audience widened.

Frida 222

I loved this book for the breadth it gives us of Frida's life, not only of the highlights, but of the thousands of little pleasures she shared with Diego and other friends. She enjoyed a life that was wonderfully rich and rewarding in many ways. Seemingly living each moment with passion, humour and bravado.

Another great aspect of this book is the insight it gives us into her creative processes. She is one of those people for whom her life was her art. Herewith a prose/poem she wrote about colour, it gives a small taste of the originality of her thinking:

All in all this was a wonderful book about a unique women. I read it in tandem with with the Taschen art book, Frida Kahlo: 1907-1954 Pain and Passion, by Andrea Kettenmann, which gave me access to good reproductions of the pictures being discussed. (There are pix in the book, but given the limitations of the format they are definitely underwhelming. This book really needs to be read with an art book with good reproductions of Frida's work.)

Highly recommended....


All illustrations have been photographed from the book Kahlo, by Andrea Kettenmann.

Profile Image for Paul.
1,180 reviews1,941 followers
March 5, 2021
3.5 stars
A pretty hefty biography of Frida Kahlo, which mostly impresses, but can frustrate as well. Kahlo’s life is pretty well documented and she is very much respected as an artist these days. Herrera spends a good deal of time analysing the art, after all that is her forte. She puts Kahlo into context as an artist, managing to explode the myth that she was a surrealist. Kahlo was steeped in her native Mexican culture and folklore and its vivid culture and imagery. As she says herself:
“I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint always whatever passes through my head, without any other consideration.”
Also central to the book is, inevitably, her relationship with her husband and fellow painter Diego Rivera. The relationship was a tempestuous one and they divorced and remarried at one point. Rivera was serially unfaithful and didn’t see it as a problem. Kahlo sometimes appeared not to see it as a problem, but sometimes she clearly did. Kahlo also had male and female lovers over the years. Inevitably Rivera didn’t object to the female lovers, but was jealous of the male ones. A fairly typical male reaction. Herrera spends some time outlining her relationships with men. However she says very little about her relationships with women and this made me feel there was a lack of balance.
The real strength of the work is the artwork and Herrera’s descriptions. As she says of Kahlo:
“She approached the body and face schismatically. Her body … she painted in the passive role of pretty object or victim of pain … By contrast, looking at her face in the mirror, she perceived herself as depictor, not as object depicted. She thus became both active artist and passive model, dispassionate investigator of what it feels like to be a woman and passionate repository of feminine emotions.”
Herrera also charts Kahlo and Rivera’s political journey, which was central to both of their lives. Their relationship with Trotsky and their on/off attachment to the communist party was central to both of them. This is contrasted with their relationships with some pretty wealthy Americans, including the Rockefellers.
I think sometimes Herrera seems a little baffled by Kahlo’s complexity and I am not sure how much of her depiction of her relationship with Rivera I accept. Nevertheless I learnt a great deal and appreciated the art.
Profile Image for Paul.
171 reviews54 followers
July 20, 2020
In Depth, thorough and intriguing. However, I did not always agree with the author's interpretive nature of assuming to understand what Frida was feeling or thinking, and forcing these interpretations by consistent repetition. Frida still had an amazing and extremely interesting life.
Profile Image for Patricija || book.duo.
535 reviews364 followers
December 19, 2020

Knygos su iliustracijomis man visuomet atsiskleidžia kitais kampais, kitomis prasmėmis. Daug informacijos perimu per vaizdus, per savo regimąją atmintį. O kai kalba pasisuka apie vizualųjį meną, apie jį kalbėti be vizualizacijų atrodo beveik niekinga. Nieko keisto, kad Fridos biografiją, nuostabiai perleistą su iliustracijomis, nusprendžiau skaityti dar kartą. Ne tik todėl, kad pirmasis kartas buvo dar mokykloje, bet ir todėl, kad ryšio su Frida, atkuriamo tarsi mylimųjų vis atnaujinami santuokos įžadai, man vis reikia tarsi oro. Ir kai viskas aplink griūna, ieškojau pažįstamos rankos, į kurią galėčiau įsikabinti.

Knyga didelė tiek užmojais, tiek apimtimi. Akivaizdžiai išieškota taip smulkmeniškai, kad neprikiši nieko. Visgi, bandydama žiūrėti ne kaip žmogus, turintis Fridą visuomet šalia – t.y. jos portretą sau ant nugaros, bandau įsivaizduoti, ar tokios apimties knyga gali būti įdomi tiesiog knygų ir biografijų entuziastui. Leidinio sėkmė rodo, kad tikriausiai taip, tačiau abejočiau, ar pati kitomis aplinkybėmis knygą laikyčiau kuo nors daugiau, nei tiesiog vadovėliu apie menininkę. Knyga turi daug nereikalingų, absurdiškai neredaguotų, neįdomiai ištęstų vietų. Pavyzdžiui, autorė ciela pastraipa, gal 10 eilučių skiria vardijimui svečių, kurie atvyko į Fridos parodą. Žinoma, keli atpažįstami vardai, bet jie numetami tik kaip sausų faktų rinkinys, be jokių papildomų įdomybių: atvyko Jurgis, Antanas, Aloyzas ir Martynas.. Jokių tolimesnių diskusijų, jokio bandymo ieškoti ko nors daugiau, nei tiesiog istorinės tiesos ir faktų konstatavimo. Ir jo čia daug. Kaip ir spėlionių. Vis dėlto, autorės pasvarstymai apie Fridos meną ir jo galimas reikšmes, yra kur kas įdomesni, nei sausi faktai – akivaizdu, kad menotyrininkės akis išlavinta ir žvilgnis – aštrus. Vis dėlto, kai kalba sukasi apie smulkmenišką meno kūrinių analizę, remtis tik knygoje pateikiamomis iliustracijomis – neįmanoma. Vos kelios yra spalvotos, o visos kitos – tokios mažytės ir netvarkingai, tik pačių leidėjų išmanomu eiliškumu pamėtytos per puslapius, kad skaitydamas pagauni save vartydamas į priekį ir atgal: aha, čia autorė kalba apie piešinį, bet ar jį jau mačiau, ar jis dar tik bus, ar nebus visai? Neaišku, kokia logika piešiniai skaitytojams (ne)pateikiami, o ir kodėl skyriuose, kur kalbama apie spalvų prasmes ir reikšmes, gilinamasi į menkiausias smulkmenas, turi žiūrėti į prastos kokybės pašto ženklo dydžio piešinuką, dar ir juodai baltą. O ėjimas gūglinti, norint atlikti autorės įdirbio vertą analizę, man numuša knygos magiją itin efektingai.

Vis dėlto, sugebant prastumdyti į šonus neįdomiąsias vietas, daugžodžiavimą ir ištęstumą, o ir pasikartojimus, galima rasti tikrąją Fridą, kurią autorė apžvelgia įdomiausiais, menininkės vertais kampais. H. Herrerai pavyksta parodyti Fridą tikroviškai ir be apsimestinių pagražinimų: vujaristę Fridą, stebinčią savo pačios emocijas, motinišką Fridos ir Diego Riveros santykį, kartais net gąsdinančiai nepatogų ir toksišką, Fridą, norinčią vaidinti auką, Fridą kankinę ir Fridą hipochondrikę. O ir Fridą, kuri apsistato stiprybės sienomis, per kurias neprasimuštų aplinkinių gailestis. Fridą, kuri keičia istoriją, kuri ieško meilės ir jos reikalauja kartais net gėdingai ir vaikiškai, kuri kabinasi į gyvenimą nagais ir dantimis, tuo pat metu iš jo kvatodamasi tiek garsiai, kiek leidžia yrantis kūnas. Fridą, makabrišką ir keistą, žmogišką ir dievišką, kuriančią ir idealizuojančią, išsilavinusią, bet naivią, motinišką, bet egoistišką, spalvingą, bet linkusią į „juoda-balta“ kraštutinumus. Fridą, kuri sukūrė save ir kurią sukūrė aplinkiniai. Fridą kaip mitą, kaip legendą, palikimą ir likimą.
Profile Image for Zanna.
676 reviews947 followers
September 20, 2015
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 for many months after her accident, and if she had not been made unable to have children, she would have had them. And so she would not have painted her physical pain and her frustrated longing.

I enjoyed Herrera's descriptive interpretations of Frida's paintings and only rarely felt she had gone too far in taking them literally or carrying her own idea further than was justified. I enjoyed her rejection of the inclusion of Frida in the Surrealist movement, though perhaps her scorn of the latter is too strong and relies on some misunderstanding of surrealism as practised by at least some of its proponents. Herrera underlines the cultural and individual specificity of Frida's work and the personal authenticity of its non-realistic elements. Her work perhaps owes something to Mexical socialist realism and Latin@ Catholic iconography (the 'naive' ex-voto tradition is clearly an influence) but not to self-indulgent European navel-gazing. Herrera explains why Surrealism gained little traction in Mexico:
Mexico had its own magic and myths and did not need foreign notions of fantasy. The self-conscious search for subconscious truths that may have provided European Surrealists with some release from the confines of their rational world and ordinary bourgeois life offered little enchantment in a country where reality and dreams are perceived to merge and miracles are thought to be daily occurrences
I also loved her eloquent writing about Frida's dress and 'costume', which was obviously a hugely important part of her process of identity. Although Frida's maternal grandfather was indigenous, she had a middle class settler Christian upbringing and dressing in tehuana clothing was a deliberate, political, and perhaps disingenuous act of appropriation, motivated, it seems, by Communist anti-imperialism, aesthetic appreciation and the desire to hide her right leg, which was damaged by childhood polio and became increasingly problematic, probably as her injuries put an end to her therapeutic habits of exercise.

It's always hard not to see the life of an artist primarily through their work, but according to Herrera, in many periods of her life Frida painted little. She writes that Frida's relationship to Diego was often more important to her sense of herself than her art. Some of Frida's writing supports this, but I am uncomfortable with Herrera's adhesion to the idea, especially as Frida often complained about Diego too. She had many correspondants, friends, and semi-secret lovers, and organised Diego's life and finances as well as her own. While he floundered without her, however inattentive he could be (apparently he lived for his work; unlike Frida he seems to have painted compulsively from childhood), she seems entirely capable of independence.

Diego was always unfaithful, but while he apparently tolerated Frida's lesbian affairs, he seemed to be typically macho about her heterosexual ones, which she kept secret. Herrera gives far more attention to these associations with men, although affairs and intimacies with women may have been at least as important to Frida. But perhaps she did not write to her women lovers, or the letters have not come into the public realm, as those written to men have. I usually feel that biographers of bisexual women are annoyingly dismissive in this way: lesbian affairs do not count, just as they didn't for Diego.

Frida and Diego were ardent Communists, and as world communism shifted and strained their allegiances were juggled too. But they retained the original impulse towards the rights of the people, towards leftist revolutionary and anti-imperialist politics. Frida was frustrated that she could not make political art, but Diego reassured her that her work was a worthwhile political contribution. Later in life, she became a teacher and led students in creating murals for a pulqueria and a women's laundry. It was fun to read her scornful opinion of European bohemians who 'did no work' and spent all their time in idle talk. A message to Euro-USian hipsters not to co-opt Frida as 'one of us'.
Profile Image for Ugnė.
528 reviews106 followers
February 17, 2021
Pagaliau aš ją pabaigiau! Pradėjau 2019, užstrigau ties pirmu skyriumi, reikėjo grąžinti į biblioteką, grąžinau ir pamiršau. Kai pasiėmiau vėl, iš ankstesnio skaitymo atsiminiau tiek, kad buvo žiauriai nuobodu ir kad aš nesupratau, ar Frida iš tiesų ne tokia įdomi, kaip atrodė filmą pažiūrėjus, ar Hayden Herrera pasakot nemoka, ar tiesiog ne tuo laiku knygą pasiėmiau ir kabinėjuos be reikalo.

Antrą kartą skaitydama vėl strigau ties pirmu skyriumi, nes, kaip negražu ir neteisinga tai bebūtų, Fridos jaunystėje rašyti laiškai man tokie nuobodūs, kad negaliu. Tačiau kuo toliau, tuo vaizdas gerėjo ir kartais daugiau, kartais mažiau įsitraukdavau. Liko įspūdis, kad papasakoti norima kuo daugiau, dėl ko pasimesdavau ir vienu metu net atrodė, kad Fridos mitas gerokai perdėtas ir išpūstas, tačiau atsivertus puslapį su jos autoportretu, kur ji žiūri tiesiai, drąsiai ir įžūliai, ir tada galvoju, kad prikurta aišku buvo visko, bet dalį to mito pati Frida ir sukūrė.

Ir visgi - žiūrėti į jos paveikslus man kur kas įdomiau nei apie ją skaityti.
Profile Image for Carmo.
654 reviews467 followers
June 5, 2021
"A arte de Frida é um laço de fita em volta de uma bomba."
André Breton

"A sua obra é dura como aço e delicada e fina como as asas de uma borboleta, adorável como um belo sorriso e profunda e cruel como a amargura da vida."
Diego Rivera

"Pensavam que eu era surrealista. Mas não sou. Eu nunca pintei sonhos. Eu pintei a minha própria realidade. Minhas pinturas são a mais franca expressão de mim mesma, sem levar em consideração julgamentos ou preconceitos, meus temas foram sempre as minhas sensações e meus estados de espírito.
Pintei sem o menor desejo de glória ou ambição."

Frida Kahlo

Esta biografia vai ficar comigo por muito tempo, Frida vai ficar comigo para sempre.
Profile Image for Dar vieną puslapį.
350 reviews543 followers
February 18, 2019
Standžiai supinti gėlėmis puošti plaukai, suaugę antakiai, Meksika, menininkė – kas? Turbūt dauguma atspėtų, kad tai žymioji Frida. Pilnas pasaulis nubarstytas Fridos pėdsakų įvairiomis formomis: grafitti, tatuiruotės, knygos, skirtukai, atvirutės, greitosios mados marškinėliai, na ir, aišku, jos tapyti paveikslai. Tačiau ką mes išties žinome apie šią įspūdingą moterį?

Manęs niekaip neapleidžia jausmas, kad didelė dalis žmonių žino Fridą, bet nieko konkretaus apie ją, apie tai kokia ji buvo, kaip gyveno, kokią žinutę neša jos paveikslai ir pan. Aš, neslėpsiu, ne išimtis. Šitą spragą nusprendžiau užpildyti su „Kitų knygų“ leista knyga, nes man ši leidykla asocijuojasi su kokybe, jų leista Abramovič biografija net mano mamai padarė įspūdį, o kitas aspektas – knygos autorė pagal profesiją biografė ir istorikė, tad lyg ir sukuria pasitikėjimą avansu.

Kaip knyga? Patiko! Lengvas rašymo stilius, įterpta nemažai laiškų, kurie leidžia dar intymiau susipažinti su Fridos vidiniu pasauliu, nemenka dozė humoro. Gal šiek tiek užkliuvo toks nevienareikšmiškas Fridos vertinimas: kartais ji vaizduojama kaip laaaabai stipri, išdidi, ori, tačiau šalia to gyvenime renkasi vyrą, kuris ją išduoda n plius k kartų, šalia jo elgiasi kaip pelytė, kad tik nesutrukdyti didžiąjam menininkui ir pan. Tačiau perskaičius jau galvojau kitaip – nei vienas mes iki galo nesame juodas arba baltas. Frida ne išimtis. Tai ekscentriška moteris, gyvenime žengusi pilna koja, labai drąsi net šokiruojanti, šalia to, norinti meilės ir globos, kartais silpna, menkutė lyg mažas vaikas ir ieškanti saugumo. Kitas faktas, kad Frida gali būti laikoma net ir pirmąja moterimi feministe Meksikoje, kai tuo metu ten apie tokį dalyką net girdėti niekas negirdėjo. Tai, matyt jos prigimtiniai dalykai.

Smulkmenų išduoti nenoriu, kad nesugadinti noro skaityti, tačiau vien faktas, kad ši ryški asmenybė iki šios dienos taip domina žmones iš viso plataus pasaulio yra visiškai nerealus. Be to ir Fridos paveikslai atsivers visu nuostabiu savo grožiu bei prasmėmis. Žinoti apie šią moterį būtina. Iki penkių žvaigždučių pritrūko vizualios dalies, nes juk taaaip smalsu pažiūrėti kaip atrodo „rupūžius Diego“, išdavikė sesuo, vienas ar kitas smulkiai aprašytas paveikslas. Bendrai – knyga puiki. Gero skaitymo.


susitikim IG https://www.instagram.com/dar.viena.p...
Profile Image for Milda.
175 reviews51 followers
May 7, 2020
Labai detali biografija. Gal ir keistai nuskambės, bet tikrai galima susipažinti su Frida. Pamatyti ją ne tik kaip menininkę, bet ir kaip žmogų, kuriam likimas nepagailėjo smūgių. Buvo įdomu skaityti Fridos laiškus, likau maloniai nustebinta, nes įsivaizdavau visai kitokią Fridos asmenybę.
Pats knygos dizainas labai gražus, atspindi ne tik menininkės, bet ir Meksikos įvaizdį.
Yra mažų minusų šioje knygoje, kurie man užkliuvo, bet bendrai viskas patiko ir negaliu kabinėtis :)
Profile Image for Angie.
28 reviews8 followers
September 21, 2007
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.
Profile Image for Bloodorange.
679 reviews191 followers
August 11, 2017
I'm probably the last person under the sun not to have seen Julie Taymor's Frida, based on this biography (which is changing as I write these words). I find rating biographies difficult - do I rate a book, or a life? - but I think I can safely give it 3.5-4 stars, with the disclaimer that my ratings are more lenient for biographies than for fiction.

The description of the birth of creativity, and subsequent relations between Frida and Diego, and other people in her life, were interesting, thorough, and touching. The image of Frida and Diego locating each other in the crowd by means of whistling The International will stay with me. This book has its faults, pointed out by other reviewers, but I find them minor, not enough to spoil my reading experience.
Profile Image for Mahsa.
18 reviews54 followers
April 24, 2008
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 .
Profile Image for Susan .
1,184 reviews5 followers
March 15, 2013
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 hung in my apartments and are still tucked into my old journals from that time in my life. Kalo was one of my beacons of light as I made my own way in life as an independent, quirky, and stubborn woman, hoping I could be half as brave in my life as she was in hers.

I found this particular biography a little frustrating in that the plates and photos were not well-positioned in the book, so I kept losing my place as I tried to read and refer to the visuals. The author, I think, may have glossed over important aspects of the artist's political life and focussed incessantly on her relationship with Rivera. And, most unfortunately, the book's cover is a photogrpah not of the subject, but of Salma Hayak as Frida Kalo in a movie.
Profile Image for Michelle Curie.
740 reviews367 followers
February 6, 2017
Frida Kahlo. To most people, she is the Mexican painter with the intense stare and dominant brows, known for her self-portraits. At the same time she has become an icon. I've seen people drinking out of Frida-cups, wearing Frida-socks and getting Frida-tattoos. This biography really made me understand what it was that made this woman so magnetising.

A woman in love with life

Frida never had it easy. She grew up during the Mexican Revolution, which certainly wasn't the easiest time to be a Mexican. At the age of eighteen, she became victim to a devastating accident, which left her crippled and unable to bear children. This affected her whole life, during which she consistently had to fight physical health issues. And still she was in love with living. She was a surprising, mesmerising and slightly macabre woman who couldn't help but to enchant those around her. She inspired with her radical and vibrant art as well as with her way of living, never afraid of showing her feelings or being kind those around her.

"You know why they do all these crazy things? Because they don't have any personality. They must make it up. You are going to be an artist because you have talent. You are an artist, so you don't have to do all these things."

A marriage to define

The book focusses strongly on her relationship with Diego Rivera, a muralist much older whom she married at a young age. Neither can be described as faithful to each other in the most traditional sense - they both had affairs and other lovers - and yet they could not live without each other. Their relationship of nearly twenty-five years went through many ups and downs and Herrera describes those very well. To be fair, I found these parts of the book slightly repetitive and too long, as it shifted the focus from Frida the individual to Frida the wife, which is where I get to my criticism of this biography.

A revolutionary

It's easy to forget that Frida Kahlo lived in a time in which it wasn't common for woman to have a loud and outspoken voice. She, however, did. I felt like this book cut short on that fact a lot, making her seem less like the revolutionary she was. While many describe Hayden Herrera's style of writing as clear and accurate, I found it to be prosaic und even arbitrary at times. She analyses many of her paintings, trying to give them a context and deducting what can be learned from them about the life Frida Kahlo led, yet on various occasions I wasn't quite sure where her claims were coming from.

Some passages felt clumsy to me, when she calls the painting My Birth "one of the most awesome images of childbirth" only to then note how dead the child looks. On other occasions paintings or photographs are described in longwinded texts which weren't included in the book, which was annoying, because I would have rather liked to see the images myself than solely relying on somebody else's interpretation of them.

I also would have liked to hear more about her own views and thoughts, especially in relation to politics and Communism. After all, Kahlo felt most alive when she was able to talk for herself:

"Let's go to work; I will be your so-called teacher, I am not any such thing, I only want to be your friend, I have never been a painting teacher, nor do I think I ever will be, since I am always learning. I hope you will not be bored with me, and when I seem to bore you, I ask you, please, not to keep quiet, all right?"

To sum up, I think Frida Kahlo was a fascinating and eclectic woman, more so than this biography implies. It's a nice read and gives a wonderful insight into her life and times, yet I was left feeling unsatisfied on various occasions throughout the book, which keeps me from calling this a truly great biography.
Profile Image for TBV (on hiatus).
308 reviews75 followers
August 2, 2019
“The painter, poet, and prominent critic José Moreno Villa struck in Novedades the note that would resound over the years: “ It is impossible,” he wrote, “to separate the life and work of this singular person. Her paintings are her biography.””

Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón (1907-1954) was a medical student when, at the age of eighteen, she was critically injured in a bus accident. “Before that we had taken another bus, but since I had lost a little parasol, we got off to look for it and that was how we happened to get on the bus that destroyed me." Her injuries were horrific: “Her spinal column was broken in three places in the lumbar region. Her collarbone was broken, and her third and fourth ribs. Her right leg had eleven fractures and her right foot was dislocated and crushed. Her left shoulder was out of joint, her pelvis broken in three places. The steel handrail had literally skewered her body at the level of the abdomen; entering on the left side, it had come out through the vagina. “ I lost my virginity,” she said.” Prior to the accident she had already been a victim to polio. She suffered many illnesses and ghastly treatments; “at least thirty-two surgical operations” and twenty-eight special corsets, one of which was made of steel. There were times when she survived on alcohol and pain killers.

In 1929 she married the very famous artist Diego Rivera. “The Riveras had much in common: humor, intelligence, Mexicanism, social conscience, a bohemian approach to life.” But the marriage was not plain sailing as Diego was an inveterate womaniser (he even had an affair with her younger sister) and Frida retaliated by having affairs with people of both sexes. The Riveras even divorced at one stage, but later remarried. Frida maintained that she loved him and that “”For me he is my child, my son, my mother, my father, my lover, my husband, my everything.””

However, these calamities did not crush her spirit. Dressed in long flamboyant native Mexican costumes with heavy jewellery and elaborate hairstyles she dazzled those around her with her wit, her sense of fun and her outspokenness. “She had the Byzantine opulence of the Empress Theodora, a combination of barbarism and elegance. She had two gold incisors and when she was all gussied up she would take off the plain gold caps and put on gold caps with rose diamonds in front, so that her smile really sparkled.” When her leg was eventually amputated she ordered red leather boots with gold decorations and little bells and “…danced the jarabe tapatío with her wooden leg.” When she was ill in bed she kept her visitors amused and they came away feeling uplifted. When she had to remain flat on her back she continued painting using a special easel that attached to the bed.

It is through her art that she expressed what she really thought and felt. She repeatedly painted herself, and it is in these pictures that she reveals the 'other' Frida, the Frida who suffered both physical and mental pain, the Frida who was desperate to have a child, the Frida who at times was depressed and tried to commit suicide. But to the world around her she was the vivacious Frida who loved to joke. In her last days she insisted, against doctors' orders, in attending the opening night of a solo exhibition of her art, and she arrived on a stretcher in great pomp and ceremony and dressed to the nines.

Author and art historian Hayden Herrera does an excellent job of analysing Frida's paintings. The book is very well illustrated and documented. Leon Trotsky and his wife lived with the Riveras for a period of time, and Frida actually had an affair with Trotsky. The author briefly recounts this history, but the focus quite rightly remains on Frida.

Frida's last painting was of a watermelon: ”Eight days before she died, when her hours were darkened by calamity, Frida Kahlo dipped her brush in blood-red paint and inscribed her name plus the date and the place of execution, Coyoacán, Mexico, across the crimson pulp of the foremost slice. Then, in large capital letters, she wrote her final salute to life: VIVA LA VIDA.”

Frida on her art:
“”I never knew I was a Surrealist,” she had said, “till André Breton came to Mexico and told me I was. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint always whatever passes through my head, without any other consideration.”" - Diego maintained that she was a 'realist'.

""I paint myself because I am so often alone,” Frida said, “because I am the subject I know best.”"

""Since the accident changed my path, and many other things,” she told Antonio Rodríguez, “I was not permitted to fulfill the desires which the whole world considers normal, and nothing seemed more natural than to paint what had not been fulfilled. . . . my paintings are . . . the most frank expression of myself, without taking into consideration either judgments or prejudices of anyone.””

Self Portrait with Necklace of Thorns
 photo self-portrait-with-necklace-of-thorns-1940.jpgPortrait_zpsisqe0ols.jpg

The Wounded Deer
 photo the-wounded-deer-1946.jpgLarge_zpsrpzhmn8j.jpg

Diego and I
 photo diego-and-i-1949.jpgLarge_zps4bog9diq.jpg

There is also a film based on this book with Salma Hayek portraying the role of Frida..
Profile Image for Pedro Pacifico Book.ster.
296 reviews3,652 followers
August 18, 2020
Quando falo sobre biografias, costumo avisar que não sou um grande fã do gênero, principalmente das obras que contêm uma longa e detalhada descrição da vida de alguma personalidade. Não é uma crítica ao gênero em si, mas apenas uma constatação de que para mim a leitura normalmente não flui tão bem. Mas, ainda assim, a curiosidade de saber mais sobre a vida de personagens que admiro, não me impede de me aventurar nesses livros… E foi justamente assim com o caso de Frida.⁣⁣
No ano passado, quando comecei a ler a sua biografia, logo me interessei bastante, mas aos poucos a leitura ficou mais arrastada. Por isso, senti que naquele momento o livro não estava sendo uma boa opção e acabei decidindo deixá-lo de lado - depois de cerca de 200 páginas lidas. ⁣⁣
Esse ano, durante a quarentena, fiquei com vontade de retomar a leitura (como não fazia tanto tempo, retomei de onde havia parado). E a experiência melhorou muito! O trabalho feito pela autora, uma reconhecida historiadora da arte, é extenso e fruto de uma impressionante pesquisa. E o que eu mais gostei foi não só a forma como Hayden Herrera reconstrói as passagens mais importantes da vida de Frida, mas também como a autora apresenta ao leitor uma análise didática e muito interessante sobre as principais obras da autora (a edição é repleta de imagens).⁣⁣
A vida de Frida é um emaranhado de acontecimentos intensos. A artista tinha um impressionante espírito revolucionário, de alguém que está muito à frente do seu tempo e vive sem o medo de ser julgada pelos outros. O amor que sentia pelas artes, o forte posicionamento político e a paixão conturbada - e não saudável - por Diego Rivera foram um importante alimento durante os períodos em que precisou viver em uma cama, com muitas dores, fruto de um acidente que sofreu ainda jovem. ⁣⁣
Para quem gosta do gênero e tem interesse em conhecer mais sobre a vida da artista, essa é uma obra imperdível! Mas fica aqui a minha dica de ler o livro junto com alguma obra mais fluida, menos densa… Com isso, você ganha mais ritmo para continuar lendo essa biografia tão marcante.

Nota: 8,5/10

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Profile Image for Jurgita Maciunaite .
46 reviews7 followers
April 18, 2022
Knyga puiki, tik kiek ištęsta. Klausiau audio, tad dar taip nesijautė. Parašyta nesudėtingu stiliumi. Labiausiai patiko pačios Fridos laiškai. Tai tokia įvairialypė asmenybė, tad viena jos pusė žavi, o yra tam tikrų dalykų, kurių nesupranti, pavyzdžiui, kaip ji pateisina vyro neištikimybę.
Profile Image for Sandra.
154 reviews69 followers
October 17, 2019

Fridos Kahlo biografija ne mažiau spalvinga nei jos pačios asmenybė, kūryba ir visa Meksika. Biografija itin detali, gal kiek nuobodesni tik politiniai to meto įvykių aprašymai ir pačios Fridos bei jos vyro Diego Riveros dalyvavimas juose. Ko labai labai trūko - tai menininkės darbų nuotraukų knygoje. Kai skaitai paveikslo analizę, norisi regėti paveikslą čia ir dabar nebėgant kaskart jo gūglinti.

Jaunystėje Fridą ištikusi kraupi nelaimė skausmingai paženklino visą moters gyvenimą: "gimiau būti vazonu ir niekada neišeisiu iš valgomojo". Rašydama savo sužadėtiniui laišką praėjus metams po nelaimės ji nenutuokė, kad taip jausis kone visą savo gyvenimą. Būtent iš begalinės aistros gyvenimui menininkės palikimas visam likusiam pasauliui yra toks didelis: "Mano tapyboje yra skausmo žinia... Tapyba užpildyta mano gyvenimu. Netekau trijų vaikų... Paveikslai užpildė šią tuštumą. Tikiu, kad darbas yra geriausias dalykas."

Įspūdingas ir paskutinis Fridos "autoportretas", atsiųstas gyviesiems prieš virstant į dulkę: "Žmonės verkė. Cristiną ištiko isterijos priepuolis: pamačiusi, kad sesers palaikai slenka į krosnį, ji pradėjo klykti. Ją teko išvesti lauk. Pačiu laiku: atsidūrusi žaizdre, Frida nuo didelio karščio atsisėdo, ir liepsnojantys plaukai kaip aureolė apsupo jai veidą. Pasak Siquieiroso, užsiliepsnojus plaukams atrodė, kad jos veidas šypsosi didžiulėje saulėgrąžoje."
Profile Image for Addicted to Books .
273 reviews108 followers
August 21, 2015
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 it yesterday.

For a biography to work this well, the subject has to be interesting and the biographer or writer's skills have to be really good to bring out the essence of the subject and Hayden Herrera did such an amazing job.

This is one of those books which will never be released on Kindle(along with catcher in the rye)

Review coming up.........although I am at a loss as how to review this book that made me so feel so much and connected with me on so many levels and yet it falls under non fiction!
Profile Image for Majdahalmazroei.
243 reviews23 followers
January 2, 2021
يعيبها الحشو، شعرت بالملل أثناء القراءة، وبشكل عام الكتاب جيد
Profile Image for Jodi.
Author 5 books72 followers
October 3, 2012
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 meticulous research in this book and the author has done a amazing job putting so much information together in such a readable format.

But several times in the book the author concludes things about Frida's motivations and attitudes to her illnesses struck me as perhaps quite unfair and unlikely. The conclusions didn't seem to match the evidence.

Frida's letters to her doctor friend, several of which are included in the book, made it very clear that she was anxious to have more surgery only if it'd really help her and if he thought it was a good idea. To me she was very clearly motivated only by a desire to have the best health when she decided on a surgery or decided against it. She really wanted this doctor's unbiased opinion either way. She was certainly not biased towards surgery and didn't take it lightly, as she knew what a cost it'd have during recovery.

Yet Harrera writes that Frida's surgeries were often very 'conveniently' timed with periods where Diego's attention may have been straying from Frida. She also comments in a quite judgemental way that many of her surgeries were 'unnecessary.'

Clearly Frida had a strong link with Diego, maybe even an obsession, but I think it is going too far to say she had unnecessary surgeries so as to elicit his attention. She was so much more of a complex and intelligent person than that and he was not the only motivation for her actions. It is easy to write now that some of those surgeries were unnecessary (and they were)...but then, many treatments those of us that are ill try are unnecessary. The point is that you don't know that until afterwards!

Having something to hang your quiet backgound-rumble-of-hope on - a new surgery, or diet etc. - is a huge part of what keeps you going when you are ill. What keeps you from giving up and lets you get through your difficult days with laughs and a few smiles. If she were not so concerned with improving her health she would not have put herself through so much and risked so much to try and improve it. This book talks of Frida's 'desperate hope' and I think that is just what she had.

I'm sure the heavy drinking didn't help - nobody's perfect - but I think it is unfair to say that Frida would have made herself bedbound for months after a risky surgery because it might improve her love-life in the short term.

It is so easy to write 'she was bedbound for 4 months' after a surgery. But to actually experience being bedbound, relying on others for every small thing and being unable to paint - to do the one thing you love so very much - for 4 months is a thing of immense magnitude. The difference between being bedbound for a month or 2 or 4 is very hard to put into words.

Each day and week and month of being bedbound contains so much suffering and being utterly miserable. Every week or even hour counts. There are big sufferings and small ones and a loss of dignity and the soul-destroying feeling of being dependant on others for everything. There is so much more suffering than you can imagine, if you haven't done it. Try it for a month... or a week, and see how likely you'd be to do it to yourself again if you could at all avoid it. For any reason not connected to your health.

Frida's illness made her oppressed by tedium, very lonely and sometimes possibly suicidal. Frida wrote after one surgery that she was going through 'a desperation that no words can describe' and said that she was 'happy to be alive so long as I can paint.'

Personally I don't buy that someone as remarkable, independent and painting-obsessed as Frida would give herself even one extra month of being bedbound (and unable to paint or even to SIT) and an unpleasant and unnecessary surgery, on purpose, let alone just to get attention from someone else in such a weak and manipulative way.

Playing up certain aspects of illness, or exaggerating them at times and demanding more care and attention from others after a surgery - maybe, but not that.

Just my opinion.

What I know for sure is that Frida was a remarkable and complicated individual and a brilliant artist. I enjoyed seeing some of the paintings reproduced in this book that I hadn't seen before and now want to see as many of them as I can, as well as learn more about Frida.

This was an interesting read overall. I'm glad too I got a copy with a Frida painting featured on the cover and not the movie-tie-in image of an actor - hate when publishers do that!

I'm looking forward to reading 'Devouring Frida' now, which comes highly recommended.
Profile Image for Sophia Yorke-Seymour.
2 reviews3 followers
January 14, 2023
The book about Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is not just a book, but a real miracle. I read avidly. Couldn't break away. Painfully, she is a colorful person, this Frida Kahlo. Not a person - but a real continent to be discovered and discovered. About how Columbus discovered America at one time ...
Thick unibrows, flowers in her hair and almost theatrical costumes full of Mexican flavor - that was Frida Kahlo. Uncompromising flamboyance was a key expression of her style, creativity and, finally, personality. She turned her life, full of mental and physical suffering, into an independent art form.
Vivid evidence of the artist's biography is kept in her house-museum in Mexico City, where she spent most of her life. Known as the Blue House, the villa was the birthplace of Frida's most significant work, including the posthumous painting Long Live Life.
But, as clearly shown in Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera, for all her talent, the self-taught artist has long preferred to stay in the shadow of her famous husband, Diego Rivera, who was also a painter. She considered her own work more of a hobby, and therefore hardly sought recognition in artistic circles. However, there was also a certain amount of cunning in this: in part, Frida ignored her own creative ambitions for the sake of her beloved husband.
The first personal exhibition in 1938, which took place during Diego's New York business trip, helped to gain self-confidence. “The paintings of this aspiring artist can compete with the work of her famous husband,” wrote Time. The next exhibition was held in Paris with the direct participation of Andre Breton. The famous writer considered Frida a prominent surrealist, although she strongly denied this title.
The first personal exhibition in her homeland took place only in 1953 - a year before the death of the artist. By that time, she could no longer get out of bed, so she was brought to the opening of the exposition right in a hospital bed. How touchingly describes it Hayden Herrera!
“There were two accidents in my life: one was when the bus crashed into a tram, the other was Diego,” Frida said. If the first gave physical pain all his life, then the second caused mental pain. The reason for this was the constant betrayal of her husband, which was accompanied by quarrels, scandals and subsequent reconciliations.
The beginning of their family life was laid by art: the aspiring artist met Rivera with a request to evaluate her work. The decisive character and extraordinary appearance of the girl instantly captivated Rivera. And even a 20-year age difference could not prevent the union, which firmly connected the fate of these two artists. Or, as Hayden Herrera demonstrates, rather this age difference contributed to the fact that such a bright passion flared up on the part of River ...
Diego repeated more than once that Frida was the main and only woman in his life, which, however, could hardly serve as a guarantor of marital fidelity. This man with the physique of an elephant and remarkable sexual energy has gained great popularity among women.
The last straw was Diego's affair with his sister Frida. This was followed by a painful divorce, but a year later the lovers got back together. The artist sublimated the pain from the breakup into creativity, and the suffering Diego offered an independent marriage - from sex and financial obligations.
According to the recollections of friends, Frida often made concessions in order to save the relationship. However, after the second marriage, she could no longer play the role of a respectable wife. Having gone into all serious trouble, Frida drank a lot, smoked, and also twisted novels.
Due to the lack of a formal art education, Frida studied painting on her own, relying on her own taste and intuition. Thus, her original style was formed, which absorbed elements of Mexican culture and the traditions of the art of the peoples of pre-Columbian America.
Formally, the artist's paintings are classified as naive art and folk art. In addition, she is often ranked among the surrealists, which, however, is also not entirely true. The dreamlike illusions and Freudian projections of the surrealists seemed naive and stupid to her. For all their fantasticness, the artist's paintings were a direct reflection of her life experience, often full of grief and disappointment.
The artist began to wear men's clothing long before it became the generally accepted norm. For this, it is worth remembering at least the famous “Self-portrait with cropped hair”, where she appears in a man's suit. In her youth, Frida preferred trousers and jeans to hide a physical defect in her leg after suffering childhood polio.
After the marriage, they were replaced by long skirts and dresses in the traditional Tehuan style. However, the image of Frida was rather a free rethinking of Mexican traditions, which were closely intertwined with elements of other cultures. The artist could easily pair an Indian sari with a colorful Creole-style blouse, complete with Picasso's earrings. In the end, her ingenuity turned this masquerade into a separate way of creative expression.
The created images became important semantic elements of Frida's paintings, and also had a noticeable impact on the fashion world. So, Kahlo's Parisian visit in 1939 inspired the designer Elsa Schiaparelli to create the Madame Rivera dress, and in the same year the artist graced the cover of French Vogue. The colorful image and bright personality of this woman will inspire the most prominent designers of the next decades: from Jean-Paul Gaultier to Ricardo Tisci.
The plots of Frida's paintings are closely connected with her life, and the main character is almost always herself. In her self-portraits, the artist almost never smiles: a serious expression on her face, thick unibrows and a barely noticeable black mustache above tightly pursed lips. “I paint myself because I spend a lot of time alone and therefore represent the topic that I know best,” said the artist.
The idea of Frida's paintings is encrypted in the details, the background, the figures that are next to Frida. Physical pain, mental suffering, failed motherhood, passion for communism, love affairs, dreams of world fame and the expectation of death - for her, creativity was not only a way of self-expression, but also a form of psychotherapy.
Frida accepted her suffering without too much drama, often in a rather ironic way. A good example of this is the painting “A Few Little Pricks”, created based on a newspaper article about a man who brutally dealt with his girlfriend with a knife. Frida uses the bloody scenery of this story to sarcastically rethink her abusive relationship with her husband.
Hayden Herrera does not try to hide the fact that the artist has suffered serious health problems all her life due to an accident that she suffered at the age of 18. As a result of numerous serious fractures, she was bedridden for almost a year. The main salvation from the frightening reality was her own fantasies, which she spilled onto the canvases. The first paints and brushes were bought by her father, and he also made a special stretcher that allowed her to write lying down.
After recovery, the artist begins to limp, and also experiences problems with her spine. This will lead her to a series of complex operations, as well as the need to wear a rigid orthopedic corset. With age, Frida's skeleton becomes so weak that it literally crumbles into pieces. As a result of the amputation, she will lose one leg, replacing it with a wooden prosthesis, which she will then decorate with a custom-made red leather boot with embroidery.
The difficult physical condition was constantly exacerbated by mood swings caused by the action of painkillers. Despite all the difficulties, Frida was preparing to celebrate a silver wedding and even persuaded her husband to take her to a communist demonstration. The trip became fatal: having caught pneumonia, the artist passed away at the age of 47.
Along with numerous novels, Frida is also credited with an association with the legendary People's Commissar Lev Trotsky, who in January 1937, along with his wife Natalya Sedova, went ashore in the Mexican port of Tampico.
Despite numerous injuries, the bright and charming Frida easily charmed men. The 60-year-old revolutionary could not resist the artist, who later wrote to her in one of his love letters: “You gave me back my youth and took away my mind. With you, I feel like a seventeen-year-old boy.
The artist's political convictions were as revolutionary as her art. Frida joined the Mexican Communist Party in 1928, but left a year later following the expelled Diego. And ten years later, she again swore allegiance to the ideas of communism.
Her house-museum in Mexico City to this day keeps the volumes of Marx, Lenin, Stalin's works read to holes, and Grossman's journalism dedicated to the Great Patriotic War. Above the head of her bed are large portraits of the founders of Marxism-Leninism, as well as their prominent followers like Mao Zedong. A wheelchair stands next to a stretcher, on canvas is an unfinished portrait of Stalin.
An interesting episode is connected with Frida's funeral. Her former classmate and artist Arturo Garcia Bustos, who was also an adherent of revolutionary ideas, brought a red knowing with a hammer and sickle in the center of a large star, placing it on the coffin. There was a scandal, and the banner was removed. Although Frida would certainly have liked such a spectacular gesture.
Profile Image for Indrė.
96 reviews
August 16, 2020
Very cohesive and rich book about one of the most interesting women out there. It was full of letters, notes, diary entries - all the details that make up the whole picture, of how strong and wild Frida was. Heart full of love for people, art, Diego and life in general.
Nothing really surprised me about Fridas life, as I knew pretty much all from before, but I loved how author intertwined the aspects of Fridas life to her works. Didn't really appreciated the author's ability to see reproductive organs in pretty much all Fridas' paintings, but some descriptions of her art was very on point.
Profile Image for Nafise 983.
13 reviews1 follower
September 24, 2009
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. .
Profile Image for Lu.
295 reviews66 followers
June 17, 2018
“L’ultimo quadro di Frida è appeso nel salotto. In esso, contro un cielo dall’azzurro brillante, scuro a sinistra e chiaro a destra, si vedono alcune angurie, il più popolare dei frutti messicani, intere, a metà, a quarti, spaccate.
Otto giorni prima di morire, quando le sue ore erano immerse nelle tenebre della fine ormai prossima, Frida Kahlo intinse il pennello in una vernice rosso sangue e scrisse il suo nome, la data e il luogo dove il quadro era stato dipinto, Coyoacán, Messico, sulla polpa scarlatta della fetta centrale. Poi, in maiuscolo, tracciò il suo saluto finale alla vita: VIVA LA VIDA.”
Estratto di: Herrera, Hayden. “Frida. Una biografia di Frida Kahlo.”

Ho un chiaro ricordo di quel quadro. Appeso in mezzo ad altri, sulle pareti delle sale del Mudec dove Frida era ospitata, mi ha colpita innanzitutto per il colore. Un rosso vivo così intenso da far giungere alle narici il profumo d'anguria ed al palato il dolce e succoso croccare della sua polpa. Rosso come il sangue, come la morte, ma anche rosso come il fuoco della vita. Vivo è proprio il termine adatto. Quel quadro era VIVO. Vivo come tutti gli altri e proprio come loro capace di gettare dritto in faccia a noi, curiosi spettatori ingordi dei pensieri e delle emozioni della loro creatrice, tutto il suo dolore, tutta la sua rabbia, tutta la sua passione.
Frida era una donna che della passione aveva fatto il suo tratto distintivo. Tutto, in lei, era fuoco. Viveva ogni cosa, ogni momento, ogni esperienza, ogni persona, con furioso impeto. Affamata di vita, derideva la morte che più volte aveva tentato di sottrarla e lo faceva con quel suo istinto sagace e fiero, sempre se stessa, nonostante tutto, fino alla fine.
Leggere questa biografia è stato faticoso. Ogni parola, un macigno. Un estenuante susseguirsi di emozioni, in tutte le sfumature immaginabili. Frida era una donna potente, forte, ma a tratti impossibile. Legata morbosamente alla vita tanto quanto a Diego, suo Compagno più che semplice marito.
Ho voluto affrontare questa lettura dopo aver assistito alla mostra tenuta al Mudec. Una esperienza quasi magica. Era come fosse lì, in quelle stanze a lei dedicate, dentro ogni quadro e quando lo osservavi lei ne fuoriusciva per toccarti, per sfiorarti ma non con dolcezza bensì con quel fuoco che la caratterizzava, che ne era il principale motore, per imprimere nel tuo Io più profondo il suo dolore e il suo amore. Perché nonostante tutto, Viva la Vida!
Profile Image for Jurgita Videikaitė.
99 reviews6 followers
September 8, 2020
"Šiaip ar taip, tapyba Fridai buvo tam tikra psichologinė chirurgija" - taikliausias teiginys apie mano santykį su šia knyga. Jau gerokai įpusėjus atrodė, kad jos niekad neišvargsiu, tų vietovardžių, meksikietiškų terminų, klampoko pasakojimo būdo. Paskui lyg palengvėjo, nors pačio teksto nepamėgau iki pat pabaigos.

Jos skaitymas - tam tikra psichologinė chirurgija. Priklausomybė nuo aprašomo žmogaus būdo.

Meno istorijos studijų metu būčiau kitaip šią biografiją vertinus. Alkis tokių knygų buvo didesnis. Dabar norisi ne tik faktų, bet ir kalbos/vertimo grožio (toli gražu nekritikuoju vertėjos, kuriai čia Sizifo darbelis teko), tiesiog sklandesnės istorijos. Begalė eilučių atiduota paveikslų analizei, kurių iliustracijos į knygą nepateko ir toks smuklmeniškas raginimas įsivaizduoti ar googlinti skaitant (ko labai nemėgstu) kažkiek erzino.

Kantrybės, skaitantiems "Fridą", tikrai prireiks.
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