Frida in America: The Creative Awakening of a Great Artist by Celia Stahr

It has been too long since there was a new book on Frida Kahlo, but Frida in America was certainly worth waiting for. The book focuses on the three years Frida spent in the United States in the thirties during the depth of the Great Depression. She followed her husband Diego Rivera across the country as he painted his murals, all the while discovering a country she had always been fascinated with and discovering herself as an artist.

Not only does the book describe Frida’s going-ons during those years with very insightful letters and diary entries from both Frida and her friends, but it also offers a perspective and background information on almost every aspect of American and Mexican life Frida came into contact with during that time. You almost get to know Frida and Diego intimately, offering a good balance between the private Frida and the public Frida, and her personality comes through in every page. The amount of research is amazing, and makes this book about much more than just Frida Kahlo.

Another major aspect of this book is the paintings Frida made during that time. Each painting is not only described, but also physiologically analyzed in detail. These parts of the book make for a slow read and bog down the otherwise swift story which sweeps one along. While it brought up certain aspects of Frida’s work I was not aware of, the focus on alchemy, no matter how important, got a little too much after a while.

I thought I knew quite a bit about Frida Kahlo, but this book offers a perspective which adds to the understanding of Frida the woman and Frida the artist. Frida in America is a great addition to any Kahlo fan’s library.

I received an advance copy from NetGalley in return for an honest review of this book.

***

Leave a Reply