The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portait


Published here in its entirety, Frida Kahlo’s amazing illustrated journal documents the last ten years of her turbulent life. This passionate, often surprising, intimate record, kept under lock and key for some forty years in Mexico, reveals many new dimensions in the complex persona of this remarkable Mexican artist.

Covering the years 1944-45, the 170-page journal contains Frida’s thoughts, poems, and dreams, and reflects her stormy relationship with her husband, Diego Rivera, Mexico’s famous artist. The seventy watercolor illustrations in the journal – some lively sketches, several elegant self-portraits, others complete paintings – offer insights into her creative process, and show her frequently using the journal to work out pictorial ideas for her canvases.

The text entries, written in Frida’s round, full script in brightly colored inks, add an almost decorative quality, making the journal as captivating to look at as it is to read. Frida’s childhood, her political sensibilities, and her obsession with Diego are all illuminated in witty phrases and haunting images.

Although much has been written recently about this extraordinary woman, Frida Kahlo’s art and life continue to fascinate the world. This personal document, published in a complete full-color facsimile edition, will add greatly to the understanding of her unique and powerful vision and her enormous courage in the face of more than thirty-five operations to correct injuries she had sustained in an accident at the age of eighteen. The facsimile is accompanied by an introduction by the world-renowned Mexican man of letters Carlos Fuentes and a complete translation of the diary’s text. An essay on the place of the diary in Frida’s work and in art history at large, as well as commentaries on the images, is provided by Sarah M. Lowe.

Taken from the publisher’s website:


Why should you read this book?

Not only is Frida Kahlo considered to be one of the most renowned artists of the twentieth century, she is also recognized for her own biography which was affected by illness, pain, passion, uncertainty and death. The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portait, published in 2014, covers the years 1944-45 and masterfully intertwines the artistic dimension and the text entries.

First of all, this is a diary. This is more than a book destined to people who loves reading. This is a book for people who loves reading, who loves arts, who loves Frida Kahlo, who wishes to understand the human mind and who wants perhaps to comprehend what triggers art creation. Above all, this is an intimate and honest self-portrait. As you read her journal, you come to realize that Frida Kahlo had never predicted the publication of her words. Therefore, they are truly sincere and the language itself is simple and pure. Some entries aren’t more than a few words or loose thoughts.

Besides the text entries that unveil the dreams, fears and thoughts of the Mexican artist, this book includes seventy watercolor illustrations. Some of these sketches, self-portraits or paintings are brutal and painful. For instance, Frida Kahlo was one of the few artists who have had the courage to picture her own death. But, then again, not many artists have faced death on so regular basis.

The introduction by the notorious Carlos Fuentes and the commentaries provided by Sarah M. Lowe also enrich this book and widen our knowledge on the paintings and on Kahlo’s biography itself.

Reading Frida Kahlo’s journal and admiring the numerous illustrations was such an incredible spiritual experience. Suddenly, you have the urge to stop trying to analyze everything. As I said, some entries are resumed to a few words. The key is to feel and go with her thoughts, fears and dreams. Lastly, I must be honest and say this was the most beautiful book I have ever laid my hands on and I found myself contemplating it over and over again. Even the paper has the most amazing touch.

I’d like to thank Abrams and Chronicle Books for sending me a free copy. You can buy the book here.

“I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.”


Book Details:

English Edition:
Publisher: Abrams and Chronicle Books
Published on: 2014
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 296
Price: £15.99


frida kahlo The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portait

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