Celia Stahr, "Frida in America: The Creative Awakening of a Great Artist" (St. Martin's Press, 2020)


Mexican artist Frida Kahlo adored adventure. In November, 1930, she was thrilled to realize her dream of traveling to the United States to live in San Francisco, Detroit, and New York. Still, leaving her family and her country for the first time was monumental.

Only twenty-three and newly married to the already world-famous forty-three-year-old Diego Rivera, she was at a crossroads in her life and this new place, one filled with magnificent beauty, horrific poverty, racial tension, anti-Semitism, ethnic diversity, bland Midwestern food, and a thriving music scene, pushed Frida in unexpected directions. Shifts in her style of painting began to appear, cracks in her marriage widened, and tragedy struck, twice while she was living in Detroit.

Frida in America: The Creative Awakening of a Great Artist (St. Martin's Press, 2020) is the first in-depth biography of these formative years spent in Gringolandia, a place Frida couldn’t always understand. But it’s precisely her feelings of being a stranger in a strange land that fueled her creative passions and an even stronger sense of Mexican identity. With vivid detail, Frida in America recreates the pivotal journey that made Senora Rivera the world famous Frida Kahlo.

Jonathan Najarian is Lecturer of Rhetoric in the College of General Studies at Boston University. He is the editor of Comics and Modernism: History, Form, Culture, a collection of essays exploring the connections between avant-garde art and comics. He is also at work on a biography of the visual artist Lynd Ward, titled The Many Lives of Lynd Ward. He can be reached at joncn@bu.edu.

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