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Frida Kahlo: The Still Lifes
     

Frida Kahlo: The Still Lifes

4.0 2
by Salomon Grimberg, Hayden Herrera (Foreword by)
 

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Grimberg, a psychiatrist and art historian, has authored and edited several books and exhibition catalogs on the poignant life and works of Frida Kahlo. In these two recent books, Grimberg focuses both on Kahlo's creative process and on how her works, self-portraits and still lifes, complement each other and serve as windows to consider the artist and her other paintings. Song of Herself centers on a series of interviews between Kahlo and Olga Campos, a psychologist and Kahlo's friend; Kahlo's words have been grouped together to present her revealing musings on a variety of subjects, such as children, sexuality, politics, and her own body. Following the interviews are two brief sections, one that details the artist's medical history and the other, an assessment of the artist by a modern-day psychologist. In the landmark book Still Lifes , Grimberg critically examines each of Kahlo's documented still lifes (all 40 that are known are reproduced here), showing how they complement the self-portraits and reflect the character of the artist just as well. In addition to color reproductions of Kahlo's striking art, these two titles include black-and-white photographs of the artist. Offering original perspectives on Kahlo's life, art, and mind, Grimberg's books are recommended for academic and special libraries with art history, psychology, or gender studies collections.-Jennifer Pollock, Yale Ctr. for British Art, New Haven, CT

School Library Journal

Grimberg, a psychiatrist and art historian, has authored and edited several books and exhibition catalogs on the poignant life and works of Frida Kahlo. In these two recent books, Grimberg focuses both on Kahlo's creative process and on how her works, self-portraits and still lifes, complement each other and serve as windows to consider the artist and her other paintings. Song of Herself centers on a series of interviews between Kahlo and Olga Campos, a psychologist and Kahlo's friend; Kahlo's words have been grouped together to present her revealing musings on a variety of subjects, such as children, sexuality, politics, and her own body. Following the interviews are two brief sections, one that details the artist's medical history and the other, an assessment of the artist by a modern-day psychologist. In the landmark book Still Lifes , Grimberg critically examines each of Kahlo's documented still lifes (all 40 that are known are reproduced here), showing how they complement the self-portraits and reflect the character of the artist just as well. In addition to color reproductions of Kahlo's striking art, these two titles include black-and-white photographs of the artist. Offering original perspectives on Kahlo's life, art, and mind, Grimberg's books are recommended for academic and special libraries with art history, psychology, or gender studies collections.-Jennifer Pollock, Yale Ctr. for British Art, New Haven, CT

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781858944371
Publisher:
Merrell Publishers
Publication date:
02/28/2008
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.80(d)

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Frida Kahlo: The Still Lifes 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
C_A_Lajos More than 1 year ago
In this book, which has been described in the publisher's marketing material as "groundbreaking" and "indispensable," child psychiatrist and psychoanalytical art historian Grimberg, who has written extensively on the popular Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) [Frida Kahlo (1988); Frida Kahlo: Song of Herself (2008); I Will Never Forget You: Frida Kahlo and Nickolas Muray (2006))], publishes the first detailed examination of the artist's still lifes. Having completed about 200 paintings during her short lifetime, 80 or so of which were known to be self-portraits, Kahlo also painted a significant number of still lifes, about 40 of which are documented. Here Grimberg closely scrutinizes and interprets Kahlo's still lifes, some of which only recently have come to light, in terms of her emotional states and relates them to her private feelings or "musings," positing that the artist oftentimes projected her thoughts onto the objects she was painting. Grimberg maintains that unlike her self-portraits which served as means for representing how Kahlo wanted to be seen and remembered, Kahlo's still lifes are "hermetic" and "harder to read." According to the author, Kahlo's still lifes functioned as "visual representations" of the artist's "struggle to master the fear of loneliness and of confronting death." Grimberg concludes that throughout her life, Kahlo suffered from "separation anxiety" and that this disorder is reflected in her life and works. While Grimberg's interpretations of Kahlo's still lifes oftentimes are arresting and convincing, his predominantly psychoanalytical viewpoint subverts other methodologies that could have been used to further decode Kahlo's complex masterpieces. Chronologically organized and written as a scholarly essay rather than a monograph, this well-documented publication with end notes and a bibliography lacks chapter and topic headings that would have aided readers. Also, Grimberg's psychoanalytical jargon oftentimes remains to be explained. Otherwise beautifully illustrated, presented, and conceived, this expert study provides a strong foundation for futher study and research. Not the last word on its subject, it nevertheless will prove to be significant, useful, and popular. Highly recommended for academic and large public library book collections as well as for students, scholars, museum professional, and other interested readers.
Henry_Berry More than 1 year ago
Frida Kahlo painted some 40 still lifes, compared to the some 80 portraits for which she is known. Despite the difference in subject matter, her still lifes are as recognizable as her portraits. The still lifes display the same bright colors, which almost seem to shock they are so bright and unexpected. And with the still lifes, there is the rough collage compositional style, often including expressionistic forms and a seemingly careless mix of images. The still lifes, too, have Kahlo's surrealist aspects. Her paintings are recognizable for their mix of influences, imagery, and stark, though ambiguous statement. Still lifes were not a way for Kahlo to distance herself from her artistic subject by the challenge of somewhat idiosyncratic, but nonetheless basically realistic reproduction or a tone of contemplation as with the still lifes of many painters. She put herself into her paintings of watermelons, bananas, grapefruit, flowers, corn, and other such subjects as much as she did in her self-portraits and portraits of others. There are the colors, the almost inventive colors the unnatural arrangement, the mix of shapes often seeming riotous or incongruous, and the stray surrealistic touches. In Kahlo's still lifes, coconuts have tears coming from eye-like parts of their husks a Mexican flag in planted in a watermelon, tropical birds are present. Kahlo's still lifes 'are as reflective of her internal reality as are her self-portraits,' writes Grimberg, a psychoanalytic art historian who is one of the authors in the recently-published Frida Kahlo - Song of Herself. The artist's internal reality was colored mostly by 'her struggle to master the fearing of loneliness and of confronting death.' Along with giving biographical background on Kahlo and examining the tensions and hopes in her relationships as these topics shed light on Kahlo's paintings, Grimberg ties together details of Kahlo's life and both objects and qualities of particular still life paintings. With respect to the coconuts with tears, for instance, the author explains that the Spanish title 'Lagrimas de coco' of one painting with such coconuts is a play on the Spanish 'lagrimas de cocodrilo' for 'crocodile tears.' Kahlo hung the painting by her bed after it was returned by the woman physician who had commissioned it. It appears it a photograph of Kahlo in her bed shortly after she had one of her legs amputated. Grimberg draws the connection that the weeping coconut represents Kahlo's mood. And even in such a somber mood from her realization of her diverse, chronic health problems requiring painkillers and tranquilizers, Kahlo expressed her wry humor in the word play connected with the painting. Over and over, Grimberg's critiques and insights bring together biographical, artistic, temperamental, psychological, and psychoanalytical material to shed light on the complexities of Kahlo's personality, origins and subjects of her paintings, and the connections between these. Though limited in scope, this 'Frida Kahlo - The Still Lifes' contains material, analysis, and also pictures of art works which bring a fuller understanding of the perennially-appealing, beguiling Kahlo.