Dreaming with His Eyes Open: A Life of Diego Rivera
Publish Date: 1998-11-03
Author: Patrick Marnham
This fascinating biography--the first in over forty years--of Diego Rivera, the brilliant Mexican artist and revolutionary (and twice-married husband of Frida Kahlo), captures the explosively passionate nature that made Rivera one of this century's most gifted and controversial painters.
Drawing on his extensive travels and research, Patrick Marnham explores a character who was, in every sense, larger than life. We are introduced to the rural Mexico, full of mystery and turbulence, that shapes the enormously imaginative young Rivera's worldview--and a place that would remain his most enduring creative influence. We see the young apprentice leave Mexico for Spain on a government grant and then go on to Italy, where he first encounters the work of the great fresco painters that will change his life and art forever; to Paris, where he settles in Montparnasse at the epicenter of the legendary artistic circle living there at the time,including Picasso (both his great friend and his rival), Modigliani, Matisse, Lger and Braque. We see Rivera travel to Moscow to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution, and begin his lifelong flirtation with Communism. And by 1930, with his young wife, Frida Kahlo, Rivera finally makes his way to North America, where he is to work on three major mural projects--one of which, commissioned by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller for the new Rockefeller Center, will end in disaster and furious international controversy for the artist, and force his return to Mexico.
Throughout we are witness to Rivera's immense passions--his countless lovers, his stormy relationship with Frida Kahlo, his political bravado, his massive strength and maniacal work ethic--which fueled his highest artistic achievements and made for an extraordinarily complex life. Marnham conveys to us the impact of this galvanic force that was Rivera's creative drive and personality, and shows why he was perhaps the greatest muralist since the Renaissance.