We all know Frida as a pop icon, but it’s so fascinating to read about her life’s history through her biography by Hayden Herrera, Frida Kahlo, for this month’s book club selection. Even knowing how she got into painting is so fascinating. I still have a ways to go before I’m done, but I thought I’d pipe in with some encouragement to start. And! Even more encouragement is an illustrative quote and bookmark by this month’s guest illustrator, Merrilee Liddiard of Mer Mag.
Lars Book Club moderator, Julie Richardson, has created some questions to get you thinking about the book. Feel free to comment in the comments section about your thoughts about the book and her life as well as over on the Instagram account.
Check out the discussion questions and prints below and join @LarsBookClub on Instagram
Have Frida’s life and artwork captivated you this month? I’ve learned so much more about her! As one who loves art history, I know that learning the context of an artist’s work is essential for greater comprehension. That doesn’t mean you need to love the art (it may not appeal to you per se), but one can at least gain some appreciation for the artist’s skill, thoughts, and perspective. And even though there is NO way to sum up Frida’s eclectic life with just a few questions, here are some to think about:
1. Frida’s life was filled with major challenges and disappointments, both physical and emotional. Her hopes and dreams were often dashed to pieces (much as her body was after the bus/trolley accident). How did these trials shape her and create the person and artist that she became?
2. Frida was a very independent woman, something that Diego Rivera encouraged. Discuss how she manifested that independence (ie. artistic style, choice of friends/personal relationships, fashion style, etc.) Do you think she is best known for her artwork? …or her somewhat unconventional lifestyle?
3. Frida’s art was influenced by other artists, life events, and the social and political climate of Mexico…or was it? How much of her artistic style was drawn from these things and how much was completely unique?
4. Frida and Diego were drawn together by the same things that often drove them apart: love of art and beauty, their political leanings, and love of all things Mexican, for example. They were deeply part of each other’s lives, but what a tempestuous, difficult life it was! How would things have been different if they had remained merely fellow artists or if their divorce had persisted?
Please feel free to comment and tell us your thoughts! Also follow along on our @larsbookclub Instagram account until the end of the month. We’ll be posting favorite photos and tidbits about Frida as we finish up Hayden Herrera’s feast of a book.
In the meantime, here are some other good reads (among soooo many!) regarding Frida Kahlo:
Frida Kahlo by Tate Publishing, Tate Modern 2005 exhibition (This book has excellent essays on the symbolism in her paintings!)
Frida and Diego: Art, Love, Life by Catherine Reef (This book will give you just the basics of their life together, but it has lots of fantastic color pictures.)
Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress: Frida’s Wardrobe: Fashion from the Museo Frida Kahlo by Denise Rosenzweig (Frida’s clothing is STUNNING, that’s all I have to say…)
Diary of Frida Kahlo: an intimate self-portrait by Frida Kahlo (I haven’t read this – and many excerpts may have been included in Herrera’s book – but I want to!)
To purchase this print check out our Print Shop.
To download a free version of the bookmark click here!
Photography by Anna Killian | Illustrations by Merrilee Liddiard | Lars Book Club is conducted by Julie Richardson