cover image The Heart: Frida Kahlo in Paris

The Heart: Frida Kahlo in Paris

Marc Petitjean. Other Press, $25 (176p) ISBN 978-1-59051-990-5

Documentary filmmaker Petitjean examines the little-known story of Frida Kahlo’s time in pre-WWII France and her whirlwind romance with his father, Michel Petitjean, in this captivating biography. Preparing to leave Mexico in 1938 for her first solo exhibition in New York, Kahlo discovered that her husband, painter Diego Rivera, was having an affair and intended to divorce her. Seeking consolation, Kahlo sailed to France in early 1939 at the invitation of surrealist Andre Breton, who had recognized her talent during a 1938 visit to Mexico. While in Paris, Kahlo socialized with Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and Elsa Schiaparelli; celebrated the exhibition of her work with other Mexican art at the Pierre Colle Gallery; and enjoyed a passionate affair with art journalist Michel Petitjean, before giving him her self-portrait of heartbreak called The Heart, “so you don’t forget me.” What emerges is a perceptive portrait of an artist finding herself and learning to love and paint again. Fans of Kahlo’s art and of the surrealist movement will want to give this thoughtful and illuminating work a look. (Apr.)

Correction: An earlier version of this review misspelled the author's last name.