cover image Frida Kahlo: Brush of Anguish

Frida Kahlo: Brush of Anguish

Chronicle Books, Martha Zamora. Chronicle Books, $35 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-87701-746-2

The work of Kahlo (1907-1954), a Mexican painter of painful, irresistible power, comes to life in the brooding self-portraits, potent parables of nature, and politically charged mythologies reproduced here in the first English-language book to provide an inclusive sampling of her art. Freelance writer Zamora's biographical essay reveals Kahlo's dark and difficult lot. Stricken with polio as a child, at 18 the painter was hurt in a streetcar accident that led to many operations, intense physical suffering and, eventually, the partial amputation of a leg. Kahlo pursued, and later married, muralist Diego Rivera, who often betrayed her sexually, once with her sister. Briefly divorced in 1939, they remarried with the agreement that each could have affairs; Kahlo allied herself romantically with many women and men, among them Leon Trotsky. But the drama of her personal history retreats before the startling force of the 75 pictures reproduced here, art tormented yet contained by a sense of inner wisdom. (Oct.)