made the self-portrait the cornerstone of her art, and she manipulates
her self-image as effectively before the lens as she did in the hours
she spent at the canvas. Nickolas Muray's photographic portraits of the
artist, including many pioneering, early colour images, have a luminous,
painterly quality, described by Diego Rivera as being 'as beautiful as
a Piero de la Francesca'. The lush, saturated colours do full justice
to the elaborate costumes that were an intrinsic part of Kahlo’s
self-image and masked the reality of her physical suffering.Kahlo met
Muray in Mexico in 1931 and they began a passionate, if intermittent,
affair that was to continue over several years, sustained from a distance
by an exchange of paintings, photographs and ardent love letters, a selection
of which are included in the book.
117pp; 23 full-colour and 28 black-and-white illustrations
"Kid, don't forget me. Write once in a while... That will be enough
to know that you still remember this wench!" Khalo writes in this
volume of love letters and photographs, making charming use of then contemporary
English slang-her preferred mode when addressing Muray, the American glamour
photographer and her lover. Reading Khalo's wildly funny tirades against
Andre Breton and other French surrealists ("coocooo lunatic son of
bitches") is a unique and worthwhile pleasure, but this book's finest
offerings are its photographs, though the results are of uneven merit.
The many casual snapshots have a patina of unearned nostalgia-an effect
that will satisfy many, but leave others feeling as if they're sifting
through yellowed photos in an antique store. The standout images are Muray's
more formal portraits of his lover. The photographic techniques available
to Muray in the late '30s and early '40s created layered colors that have
an almost painted effect, and are delicious to look at now. Khalo was
both a woman and a myth-complicated, challenging, talented and, perhaps,
masochistic (or so the Kahlo specialist Grimberg asserts in the book's
one essay)-but readers will see these qualities best through Muray's photographs,
not Kahlo's letters.
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Inc. All rights reserved.
In the fall of 1938 Frida Kahlo traveled to New York for her first solo
exhibition. There she met photographer Nickolas Muray whom she had first
met in Mexico, and they started a passionate affair. Muray, born in Hungary,
was a successful New York fashion and commercial photographer known for
his portraits of celebrities such as Fred Astaire, Marlene Dietrich, F.
Scott Fitzgerald, George Bernard Shaw, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Claude
Monet. Having experimented with color from early on, Muray found his most
colorful model in Frida Kahlo. Their liaison yielded a series of breathtaking,
mostly color photographs, most of them never published. Our book for the
first time presents a large selection of this series, with excerpts from
the Kahlo/Muray correspondence and an essay by Salomon Grimberg.