Work Title: 100 Best Paintings in New York
Work Author(s): Deanna MacDonald and Geoffrey Smith
Softcover $22.00 (256pp)
Reviewer: Alex Moore
"I paint myself because I am so often alone, because I am the subject I know best," said Frida Kahlo. Her painting, Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair, is in the Museum of Modern Art. Created in 1940, shortly after her divorce from muralist Diego Rivera, Kahlo is dressed in men's clothes, sitting in a chair with short hair, scissors in hand; she looks sad, yet strong.
100 Best Paintings in New York presents fine art selections by MacDonald, art historian and former McGill University art history professor, and Smith, art connoisseur and author of 100 Best Paintings in London. Nine museums are included, ranging from the Frick Collection to the Whitney Museum of American Art. Their locations and hours are provided as well as facts about the museums: Solomon R. Guggenheim commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright in 1934 to design a permanent structure for his modern art collection; construction of the Guggenheim Museum was started in 1956 and was finished in 1959 with its "modernist symphony of spiraling forms."
Each museum section consists of anecdotal information on the painter and a description of the art. One learns, for example, that Frida was married to Rivera twice, that one of her paramours was the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, and that she "depicted images of naive, bright color and flattened forms, a style inspired by Mexican folk art." The painting is described with imaginative palette: "Her freshly cut locks, surreally animated, seem almost to crawl...