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Frida Kahlo: 1907-1954 Pain and Passionby Andrea Kettenmann
Synopses & Reviews
The Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) is one of the most important 20th century painters, and one of the few Latin American artists to have achieved a global reputation. In 1983 her work was declared the property of the Mexican state.
Kahlo was one of the daughters of an immigrant German photographer and a Mexican woman of Indian origin. Her life and work were more inextricably interwoven than in almost any other artist's case. Two events in her life were of crucial importance. When she was eighteen, a bus accident put her in hospital for a year with a smashed spinal column and fractured pelvis. It was in her sick bed that she first started to paint. Then, aged twenty-one, she married the world-famous Mexican mural artist Diego Rivera. She was to suffer the effects of the accident her whole life long, and was particularly pained by her inability to have children.
Kahlo's arresting pictures, most of them small format self-portraits, express the burdens that weighed upon her soul: her unbearable physical pain, the grief that Rivera's occasional affairs prompted, the sorrow her childlessness caused her, her homesickness when living abroad and her longing to feel that she had put down roots, profound loneliness. But they also declare her passionate love for her husband, her pronounced sensuousness, and her unwavering survival instinct.
The Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) is one of the most important 20th century painters. This title describes Kahlo's arresting pictures, most of them small format self-portraits, which express the many burdens that weighed upon her soul.
Frida Kahlo stepped into the limelight in 1929 when she married Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. She was twenty-two; he was forty-three. Hailed as Riveraandrsquo;s exotic young wife who andldquo;dabbles in art,andrdquo; she went on to produce brilliant paintings but remained in her husbandandrsquo;s shadow throughout her life. Today, almost six decades after her untimely death, Kahloandrsquo;s fame rivals that of Rivera and she has gained international acclaim as a path-breaking artist and a cultural icon.
Cutting through andldquo;Fridamania,andrdquo; this book explores Kahloandrsquo;s life, art, and legacies, while also scrutinizing the myths, contradictions, and ambiguities that riddle her dramatic story. Gannit Ankori examines Kahloandrsquo;s early childhood, medical problems, volatile marriage, political affiliations, religious beliefs, and, most important, her unparalleled and innovative art. Based on detailed analyses of the artistandrsquo;s paintings, diary, letters, photographs, medical records, and interviews, the book also assesses Kahloandrsquo;s critical impact on contemporary art and culture.
and#160;Kahlo was of her time, deeply immersed in the issues that dominated the first half of the twentieth century. Yet, as this book reveals, she was also ahead of her time. Her paintings challenged social norms and broke taboos, addressing themes such as the female body, gender, cross-dressing, hybridity, identity, and trauma in ways that continue to inspire contemporary artists across the globe. Frida Kahlo is a succinct and powerful account of the life, art and legacy of this iconic artist.
About the Author
Andrea Kettenmann (born in 1959) studied art history in Gießen, Göttingen and Heidelberg before joining the art history department of the University of Hamburg. In 1986 she visited Mexico on a fellowship, and now lives there, working as a freelance art historian. She has now worked on a number of exhibitions and catalogues, including the catalogue for the retrospective on Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo's husband, in Detroit.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Artist as Mythmaker; Fissured Tales of Art and Life
1 Family Tree: andldquo;My Grandparents, My Parents and Iandrdquo;
2 Childhood Traumas: The Broken Body, the Doubled Self
3 On the Cusp of Womanhood
4 Coming of Age
5 andldquo;The Lost Desireandrdquo;: Relinquishing Maternity
6 andldquo;Double Sorrowandrdquo;: Losing and Finding Love
7 andldquo;Where is the andlsquo;Iandrsquo;?andrdquo;: Losing and Finding her Selves
8 andldquo;Everything is All and Oneandrdquo;: Losing and Finding Faith
9 andldquo;I am the Disintegrationandrdquo;: The Waning of Life
10 Of her Time; Ahead of her Time
Postscript: Frida Kahloandrsquo;s Art, Life and Legacy
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