Monday, 19 July 2010

The Diary of Frida Kahlo

by Sabrina

Frida Kahlo's illustrated journal documents the last ten years of her life (1944-1954). It was first published 40 years after her death. The 170 pages contain Frida's thoughts, poems and illustrations like in a sketch book, using it to work out graphical ideas for her canvases. Other pages are all over filled with Frida's generous handwriting in brightly colored ink.

This personal document gives a very deep and personal insight in Frida's feelings and thoughts, reflecting especially her love for Diego Rivera whom she divorced once and one year later married again. It adds also to the understanding of her unique vision and courage in facing some 35 operations to correct injuries she had sustained in an accident at the age of eighteen.

The journal is written in Spanish, as Frida was Mexican but in the ending every page is printed smaller in black/white again and an English translation is provided as well as some notes on the meanings of the entries. The high quality paper of which the pages consist is very thick and shiny and smells just great. An introduction to the book is written by Carlos Fuentes. "An essay on the place of the diary in Frida's work and in art history at large, as well as commentaries on the images, is provided by Sarah M. Lowe."[cover]

Actually this book made me curious about Frida Kahlo's life and I decided to read Hayden Herrera's often quoted biography about Kahlo too. As I am no expert in art I think it is possible that I did not enjoy the book as much as somebody who really knows about the milestone of Frida's work. I only enjoyed looking at the colored pictures and getting an impression on Frida's intellectual world. More or less that was everything I could do with it. For me it was enough.


  1. Sounds interesting, but sometimes translations can be a bit tough to get their full intended meaning.

  2. I saw the movie Frida and it was so well done. If you have an interest in her life, you might try the movie. Have a great week and happy reading.

  3. I hear you book chick! I am always a bit nervous when I try a book in translation.

    Kaye, I think I already saw the movie some years ago but I can't remember it very well. Maybe I could give it another try as my interest in Frida is now flared up. Thanks for reminding me.

  4. I never knew she kept a diary. I'll have to check this out! Nice review!