Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo

by Hayden Herrera

Paperback, 2002




Harper Perennial (2002), 528 pages


"Frida Kahlo's paintings and person illustrate the inevitable intertwining of freedom and pain, embodying the heroic reclamation of self and the repudiation of social repression through the art-making process. She is a woman both of her time and ours. Born in 1907, on the cusp of a new century, she was a radical in imagining and then asserting a peculiarly adventuresome artistic, sexual, and political identity. In her paintings she blurred the realms of saints and shamans as well as the cosmological and the technological, often permitting shockingly personal depictions of her physical and psychological pain to bleed into the iconography of Mexico's Aztec, colonial, and revolutionary history. This overturning of traditional approaches to thinking, seeing, and fantasizing is clear in the fearless self-portraits Kahlo constructed as well as in the life she lived." "This richly illustrated catalogue features more than 80 of Kahlo's works, including the hauntingly seductive and often brutal self-portraits, as well as a selection of key portraits and still-lifes that span the years of her career, up to her death in 1954, New critical essays by Elizabeth Carpenter, Hayden Herrera, and Victor Zamudio-Taylor examine Kahlo's position within art history and visual culture. Also reproduced are more than 100 photographs that belonged to Kahlo and her husband, renowned Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, some taken by eminent photographers of the period such as Lola Alvarez Bravo, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Gisele Freund, Tina Modotti, and Nickolas Muray. More personal snapshots show Kahlo with family and friends, among them luminaries Andre Breton and Leon Trotsky, and many carry graphic inscriptions and interventions by the artist. An illustrated timeline, bibliography, and exhibition history offer added context."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member RebeccaReader
Come for the paintings and stay for her story. Frida's story will leave you fascinated. Herrera is an expert on her life and work.
LibraryThing member eduscapes
I've always loved a well-written biography. This one reminded me of the biography I read in college about Georgia O'Keefe. After watching the award-winning movie "Frida" based on the book, Larry got me the book for my birthday. The movie and the book are great companions.
LibraryThing member gbjefferso
Part of series of books on Hispanics of Achievement, Frida Kahlo, trails the life of a beautiful, talented young woman who suffers through a series of tragedies and uses the canvass as narrative of her life and well as voice for the political movements of her time. Frida Kahlo's life will capture the interest of the young reader, but some of the topics discussed are of a mature nature. The biography could be used cross-curriculum for art, history, social science and English.… (more)
LibraryThing member MariaKhristina
I read this while I was in Mexico during a 3 week back packing trip. It really was the perfect book to read especially since I could visualize Frida's home ,which I made my boyfriend go to, and all of the big beautiful spaces of Mexico City and Mexico in general.

I also really loved how it examined her relationship with Diego Rivera even though it was heartbreaking to read at the same time.… (more)
LibraryThing member kaulsu
I know so little about art. Still less about Mexico. Vitually nothing about communism in Mexico. This book alleviated each of these deficiencies to some degree.

Kahlo lived a physically painful life; helped very little, it seems by mid-twentieth century medicine. Either in spite of the physical nightmare she endured or because of it, we are left with a record of true genius, however macabre it at times it appears.

Herrera was able to keep me, a self confessed art neophyte, focused for two months as I read 10 pages or so about 5 nights a week.
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LibraryThing member kbullfrog
read this book some years ago and it still shapes and haunts me. her life was such an elaborate interweaving of pain and celebration, primal and devastating. Herrera does a magnificent job of balancing a biographical, historical examination of this larger than life figure, along with examining the culture that Frida celebrated, with words that could not be more entertaining or insightful.

i would recommend this book to any reader, art lover or not, who wishes to look into a culture, a lifestyle, beyond their own.
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LibraryThing member michaelbartley
I liked this book a lot, ms. herrera brought frida, diego and the art world alive wonderful life wonderful book


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

528 p.; 6.13 inches


0060085894 / 9780060085896

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