Edited by Pablo Ortiz Monasterio.
Editorial RM, 2010. 496 pp., 460 duotone illustrations, 6½x9".
When Frida Kahlo died in 1954, her husband Diego Rivera asked the poet
Carlos Pellicer to turn her family home, the fabled Blue House, into a
museum. Pellicer selected some paintings, drawings, photographs, books
and ceramics,maintaining the space just as Kahlo and Rivera had
arranged it to live and work in. The rest of the objects, clothing, documents,
drawings and letters, as well as over 6,000 photographs collected
by Kahlo over the course of her life,were put away in bathrooms that
had been converted into storerooms. This incredible trove remained hidden
for more than half a century, until, just a few years ago, these storerooms
and wardrobes were opened up. Kahlo’s photograph collection
was a major revelation among these finds, a testimony to the tastes and
interests of the famous couple, not only through the images themselves
but also through the telling annotations inscribed upon them.
Photography had always been a part of Kahlo’s life—her father
Guillermo Kahlo was one of the great Mexican photographers at the
beginning of the twentieth century—and her collection constitutes a roll
call of great photographers:Man Ray, Brassaï,Martin Munkacsi, Pierre
Verger, George Hurrel, Tina Modotti, EdwardWeston,Manuel and Lola
Álvarez Bravo, Gisèle Freund and many others, including Kahlo herself.
It is likely that many of the unattributed photographs in the collection
were taken by her, though we can only be sure of the few that she decided
to sign in 1929. Frida Kahlo: Her Photos allows us to speculate about
Kahlo’s and Rivera’s likes and dislikes, and to document their family origins;
it supplies a thrilling and hugely significant addition to our knowledge
of Kahlo’s life and work.
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