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The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait Hardcover – August 9, 2005

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Editorial Reviews Review

Frida Kahlo, one of the most dynamic figures of 20th-century art, has very nearly become a saint, so legendary is her tumultuous and tragic life. While there is no dearth of books about Kahlo and her work, none are as poignantly revealing as this diary, which includes her own words and pictures. We find the genesis of some of her most famous paintings, her love letters, and sketches of people she knew such as her husband, the Mexican mural painter Diego Rivera, and numerous studies for self-portraits. The most fascinating part of the book is the facsimile diary, in its exact size, reproduced here for the first time, with color illustrations. It is accompanied by an English translation with explanatory commentaries. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1919- 1954) kept this haunting journal during the last decade of her life, preoccupied with death, beset by declining health, isolation and repeated surgical operations resulting from the bus accident that severely damaged her spine, pelvic bones, right leg and right foot at the age of 18. This facsimile edition reproduces her handwritten, colored-ink entries and accompanying self-portraits, sketches, doodles and paintings, which fuse surrealism, pre-Columbian gods and myths, biomorphic forms, animal-human hybrids, archetypal symbols. Ardent entries and love letters mirror her obsessive devotion to her husband, painter Diego Rivera. In his moving introduction, Mexican critic/novelist/poet Fuentes relates Kahlo's images of pain, loss, mutilation and transcendence to Mexico's historic cycles of revolution and reaction. Lowe, author of the study Frida Kahlo, ably places the journal in the context of the painter's shattered life. Sprinkled with irony, black humor, even gaiety, and augmented with translations of the diary entries plus commentaries and photographs, this volume is a testament to Kahlo's resilience and courage.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Abrams (August 9, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810959542
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810959545
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

124 of 128 people found the following review helpful By Enrique Torres VINE VOICE on August 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I was put off by this book for a few years before I got around to reading it because of the odd nature of Frida's drawings and doodlings, inks spillls morfing into "art" and in general the seemingly difficult text to follow. All this changed upon a recent trip to Mexico, amongst the tranquil backdrop of Mismaloya and unforgetable sunsets in this tropical paradise I was able to whip through this book. The serenity of the place helped me get through Frida's chaos. After reading her own insights and feelings about life I wanted more. Her bizarre life, filled with more theatre and characters than a Fellini film, more physical and mental agony than most humans can endure is one that deserves her own thoughts, although at times they are convoluted. Whether she was under the influence(many of her last years she was doped to mask the pain) or not is irrevelant because the text is spellbinding with illustrations that captivate the imagination, taking the reader along a surrealistic journey as only Frida can. It is a grotesquely beautiful book, rich in imagery , both literally as well as illustrated in the unique style of Frida Kahlo, reflective of the pain and suffering she lived, both self inflicted and her own fate. It is quite simply, Frida in her own words. The book is a handsome collection of thoughts and drawings by one of the greatest Latin American artists of the twentieth century. The author takes the liberty of interpreting each page, giving her perspective concerning the thoughts of Frida in a very helpful manner. The first part of the book is the diary, in writting and print and as colorful and bold as Frida was, whereas the second part is the type written text of the Frida's hallucianatory ramblings and drawings.Read more ›
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68 of 69 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
If you are expecting a standard diary, full of descriptions of what happened today, who visited for breakfast, and what Frida had for dinner - then don't order this book. Frida's diary is an amazing combination of text and paintings. She writes random comments with little consideration of form. In fact, many of the things she writes are random lists of words, or letters to loves that are never sent, or even descriptions of fantastic events that never occur outside of her imagination. It's like a huge and colorful experiment in free writing and unconscious expression. Combine these words with the sketches, paintings, and drawing scattered about - sometimes on pages of their own, sometimes in the midst of words that are written around the edges of the artwork - and you have an incredible and extremely unique diary. Personally, I found it inspiring to read and have incorporated many of the elements into my own journal. (If you are looking for a way to break out of writers block, or artists block, I would seriously consider getting a copy of this book and mimicking the technique. It's very freeing and has a way of generating ideas.)
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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is not a book that you read, per se. If you are looking for a biography or autobiography of Kahlo and want to find out about her life and times - this is Not the book.
If you already have a lot of knowledge of Kahlo then this diary is a fantastic addition. It provides you with an insight into her mind, dreams and pain. The beautiful color reproduction of her actual drawing and writing is accompanied by a type-set explanation of her words.
No scholar of Frida Kahlo should be without this amazing, gorgeous portfolio. It is inspiring on many levels.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Charlise Tiee on July 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book gives an interesting view of the person who was Frida Kahlo, in her own very personal words and images. It is a bit sad that something so private has been made rather accessible, but it is good for lovers of Kahlo's art. The book is inspiring; it is quite creatively stimulating with the lush, free images and round scrawls in many colours. The introduction by Carlos Fuentes is well-written, and I especially liked his description of seeing Frida Kahlo at a Wagner opera. The essay by Sarah Lowe is likewise good. The reproductions of the diary pages look very good and clear (though since I haven't seen the originals, I'm just assuming they are accurate), the size of the pages is large enough, and the colours are all very vivid. The commentary is in a separate section from the diary reproduction, which is nice because you can look uninterrupted at the diary part, and not have to worry about what it all means. It does make for a lot of flipping back and forth when reading the commentary and referring back to the diary page, even though the page discussed is reproduced in black and white (very small) in the commentary. The commentary is rather sparse, and not all the pages of the diary are discussed. All in all a fascinating read.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By F. Lennox Campello on May 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This very intimate book accomplishes what no bio can: show us inside Kahlo, via her own ramblings and disorganization and odd illustartions and ink spills and lines, and drawings, etc. It is a weird highway to the inner mind of the goddess of 20th century art.
With a movie in the works ..., Kahlo is sure to solidify her position as the top-of-the-art-food-chain Latin American artist of the century (Georgia O'Keefe considered her the best female artist of the 20th century) and make her iconic face even more famous.
Kahlo deserves this position because she painted honestly and brutally. She painted her memorable Jewish-Austrian-Spanish-Mexican face, single eyebrow and slim moustache in stark honesty; she had many lovers of both sexes (when such a course of sex exploits was practically unknown); she grabbed her Mexicanity with a fierce pride and ferocity that would not be in vogue until decades after her death (Kahlo was born in 1907 and died in 1954) and yet during her life she was just the wife of a very famous Mexican muralist and a champagne Communist who partied with the Fords and Rockefellers while marching with the workers down the wide avenues of Mexico City. It is thus ironic that it is Kahlo, whose astonishing life and unique paintings are now the subject of lawsuits between governments and collectors, has taken the limelight from her talented womanizer husband and is rightfully considered one of the best artists of the 20th century, period. This is a nice addition and a must read for Kahlophiles.
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