The heart Frida Kahlo in Paris

Marc Petitjean

Book - 2020

"This intimate account offers a new, unexpected understanding of the artist's work and of the vibrant Surrealist art scene in the 1930s. In 1939, devastated after the revelation that her husband had had an affair with her sister, Frida Kahlo left her home in Mexico and headed for Paris to rebuild her life and rediscover her art. Now, for the first time, this missing part of Kahlo's story is brought to light in exquisite detail. Marc Petitjean takes the reader to Paris with Kahlo, ...where she spends her time alongside luminaries such as Pablo Picasso, André Breton, Dora Maar, and Marcel Duchamp. Using Kahlo's whirlwind romance with the author's father, Michel Petitjean, as a jumping-off point, The Heart provides a striking portrait of the artist as she learns how to love--and ultimately how to paint--again"--

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Subjects
Genres
Biographies
Published
New York : Other Press [2020]
Language
English
French
Item Description
"Originally published in 2018 as Le Coeur: Frida Kahlo à Paris by Arléa, Paris."
Physical Description
195 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 20 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN
9781590519905
1590519906
9781635421903
Main Author
Marc Petitjean (author)
Other Authors
Adriana Hunter (translator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

While writer and documentary filmmaker Petitjean was growing up in Paris, a disturbing painting by Frida Kahlo hung on a wall in his childhood home. The Heart is a self-portrait in which the artist has no hands; a large hole in her chest is pierced by a golden rod; and an enormous human heart bleeds onto the ground. Spurred by a query from a Mexican writer about an affair between Petitjean's father, Michel, and Kahlo, when she was in Paris in 1939, the author investigated. He now introduces his colorful father, Michel, as "an ethnographer, agronomist, left wing militant, and journalist who moved in artist circles," and tells the story of how Michel and Kahlo met as Spain fell to Franco, Hitler began his ascent, and the surrealists, led by André Breton, who wooed Kahlo to Paris, dictated artistic tastes. The first Latin American artist to have a painting purchased by the Louvre, Kahlo sharpened her artistic mission during her time in Paris, and never saw her French lover again. Petitjean's unique, frank, and intriguing account details with precision and wonder a rarely examined chapter in Kahlo's extraordinary life. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

While writer and documentary filmmaker Petitjean was growing up in Paris, a disturbing painting by Frida Kahlo hung on a wall in his childhood home. The Heart is a self-portrait in which the artist has no hands; a large hole in her chest is pierced by a golden rod; and an enormous human heart bleeds onto the ground. Spurred by a query from a Mexican writer about an affair between Petitjean's father, Michel, and Kahlo, when she was in Paris in 1939, the author investigated. He now introduces his colorful father, Michel, as "an ethnographer, agronomist, left wing militant, and journalist who moved in artist circles," and tells the story of how Michel and Kahlo met as Spain fell to Franco, Hitler began his ascent, and the surrealists, led by André Breton, who wooed Kahlo to Paris, dictated artistic tastes. The first Latin American artist to have a painting purchased by the Louvre, Kahlo sharpened her artistic mission during her time in Paris, and never saw her French lover again. Petitjean's unique, frank, and intriguing account details with precision and wonder a rarely examined chapter in Kahlo's extraordinary life. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Documentary filmmaker Petitjean examines the little-known story of Frida Kahlo's time in pre-WWII France and her whirlwind romance with his father, Michel Petitjean, in this captivating biography. Preparing to leave Mexico in 1938 for her first solo exhibition in New York, Kahlo discovered that her husband, painter Diego Rivera, was having an affair and intended to divorce her. Seeking consolation, Kahlo sailed to France in early 1939 at the invitation of surrealist Andre Breton, who had recognized her talent during a 1938 visit to Mexico. While in Paris, Kahlo socialized with Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and Elsa Schiaparelli; celebrated the exhibition of her work with other Mexican art at the Pierre Colle Gallery; and enjoyed a passionate affair with art journalist Michel Petitjean, before giving him her self-portrait of heartbreak called The Heart, "so you don't forget me." What emerges is a perceptive portrait of an artist finding herself and learning to love and paint again. Fans of Kahlo's art and of the surrealist movement will want to give this thoughtful and illuminating work a look. (Apr.)Correction: An earlier version of this review misspelled the author's last name. Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"This intimate account offers a new, unexpected understanding of the artist's work and of the vibrant Surrealist art scene in the 1930s. In 1939, devastated after the revelation that her husband had had an affair with her sister, Frida Kahlo left her home in Mexico and headed for Paris to rebuild her life and rediscover her art. Now, for the first time, this missing part of Kahlo's story is brought to light in exquisite detail. Marc Petitjean takes the reader to Paris with Kahlo, where she spends her time alongside luminaries such as Pablo Picasso, Andrâe Breton, Dora Maar, and Marcel Duchamp. Using Kahlo's whirlwind romance with the author's father, Michel Petitjean, as a jumping-off point, The Heart provides a striking portrait of the artist as she learns how to love--and ultimately how to paint--again"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An intimate revisionist portrait of the master 20th-century artist places her masterpieces against a backdrop of the vibrant 1930s surrealist scene, Diego Rivera’s divorce-instigating affair with her younger sister and her one-time trip to Europe.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

This intimate account offers a new, unexpected understanding of the artist’s work and of the vibrant 1930s surrealist scene.In 1938, just as she was leaving Mexico for her first solo exhibition in New York, Frida Kahlo was devastated to learn from her husband, Diego Rivera, that he intended to divorce her. This latest blow followed a long series of betrayals, most painful of all his affair with her beloved younger sister, Cristina, in 1934. In early 1939, anxious and adrift, Kahlo traveled from the United States to France—her only trip to Europe, and the beginning of a unique period of her life when she was enjoying success on her own.Now, for the first time, this previously overlooked part of her story is brought to light in exquisite detail. Marc Petitjean takes the reader to Paris, where Kahlo spends her days alongside luminaries such as Pablo Picasso, André Breton, Dora Maar, and Marcel Duchamp.  Using Kahlo’s whirlwind romance with the author’s father, Michel Petitjean, as a jumping-off point, The Heart: Frida Kahlo in Paris provides a striking portrait of the artist and an inside look at the history of one of her most powerful, enigmatic paintings.