Frida Kahlo: The Complete Paintings Collects the Painter’s Entire Body of Work in a 600-Page, Large-Format Book

Most of us who know Fri­da Kahlo’s work know her self-por­traits. But, in her brief 47 years, she cre­at­ed a more var­i­ous body of work: por­traits of oth­ers, still lifes, and dif­fi­cult-to-cat­e­go­rize visions that still, 67 years after her death, feel drawn straight from the wild cur­rents of her imag­i­na­tion. (Not to men­tion her elab­o­rate­ly illus­trat­ed diary, pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured here on Open Cul­ture.) Some­how, Kahlo’s work has nev­er all been gath­ered in one place. That, along with her endur­ing appeal as both an artist and a his­tor­i­cal fig­ure, sure­ly made her an appeal­ing propo­si­tion for art-book pub­lish­er Taschen, an oper­a­tion as invest­ed in visu­al rich­ness as it is in com­plete­ness.

There’s also the mat­ter of size. Though not con­ceived at the same scale as the murals of Diego Rivera, with whom Kahlo lived in not one but two less-than-con­ven­tion­al mar­riages, Kahlo’s paint­ings look best when seen at their biggest. Hence Taschen’s “large-for­mat XXL” pro­duc­tion of Fri­da Kahlo: The Com­plete Paint­ings, which “allows read­ers to admire Fri­da Kahlo’s paint­ings like nev­er before, includ­ing unprece­dent­ed detail shots and famous pho­tographs.” Pre­sent­ed along with a bio­graph­i­cal essay, those pho­tos cap­ture, among oth­er sub­jects, “Fri­da, Diego, and the Casa Azul, Frida’s home and the cen­ter of her uni­verse.”

In cre­at­ing his vol­ume, edi­tor-author Luis-Martín Lozano and con­trib­u­tors Andrea Ket­ten­mann and Mari­na Vázquez Ramos focused not on the artist’s life, but her work. “Most peo­ple at exhi­bi­tions, they’re inter­est­ed in her per­son­al­i­ty — who she is, how she dressed, who does she go to bed with, her lovers, her sto­ry,” says Lozano in an inter­view with BBC Cul­ture. Putting togeth­er a run-of-the-mill Kahlo book, “you repeat the same things, and it will sell – because every­thing about Kahlo sells. It’s unfor­tu­nate to say, but she’s become a mer­chan­dise.” Fri­da Kahlo: The Com­plete Paint­ings is also, of course, a prod­uct, and one painstak­ing­ly designed to com­pel the Fri­da Kahlo enthu­si­ast. Its ide­al read­er, how­ev­er, desires to live in not Kahlo’s world, but the world she cre­at­ed.

via Colos­sal

Note: Taschen is a part­ner of ours. So if you pur­chase a book, it helps sup­port Open Cul­ture.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Fri­da Kahlo: The Life of an Artist

The Inti­ma­cy of Fri­da Kahlo’s Self-Por­traits: A Video Essay

Vis­it the Largest Col­lec­tion of Fri­da Kahlo’s Work Ever Assem­bled: 800 Arti­facts from 33 Muse­ums, All Free Online

Dis­cov­er Fri­da Kahlo’s Wild­ly-Illus­trat­ed Diary: It Chron­i­cled the Last 10 Years of Her Life, and Then Got Locked Away for Decades

Take a Vir­tu­al Tour of Fri­da Kahlo’s Blue House Free Online

A Brief Ani­mat­ed Intro­duc­tion to the Life and Work of Fri­da Kahlo

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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