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My Art, My Life: An Autobiography [Paperback]

Diego Rivera , with Gladys March
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 14 1992 Dover Fine Art, History of Art
A richly revealing document offering many telling insights into the mind and heart of a giant of 20th-century art. "There is no lack of exciting material. A lover at nine, a cannibal at 18, by his own account, Rivera was prodigiously productive of art and controversy." — San Francisco Chronicle. 21 halftones.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strictly Fantasy Aug. 31 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
If you have not yet read anything about the life of Diego Rivera, don't start with this book. While Rivera's re-imagining of his life is riveting, it is merely one more tall tale. Rivera is known for many talents, however, sticking to the truth is not one of them.
If you already have a solid background in the artists life, then by all means read this book to get a sharper insight into his mental inner-workings!
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Fact and Fiction Jan. 20 2003
Format:Paperback
This book is a mixture of fact and fantasy, the real real and imagined world as conjured by the mind of Diego Rivera as told to Gladys March. The invention of facts, the fabrication of the bits of truth to create a colorful story are the result of a newspaper interview that flourished into a series of interviews over many years. Beginning in 1944 and continuing until his death in 1957 Gladys March spent several months each year collecting over 2000 pages of notes that eventually formed the basis of this book. As another customer reviewer stated this is not the place to start when you reading about the life of Rivera since the lines between fact and fiction are blurred at best. A more accurate picture can be found in "dreaming With His Eyes Open" by Patrick Marnham. If you have a foundation in the life and times of one of the great Mexican artists than this book reflects a colorful and imaginative mind. The brillance of his art aside Diego reveals himself and makes no excuses for the parts of his pesonality that are less than desireable. He talks about his experiment in cannanbilsm, witchcraft, his blaphemous treatment of religion and the church, the communist party, his relationships with world leaders, artists and women, his advetures in Europe, the United States and Mexico, his troubles and ills , including his bout with cancer of the penis and in general the things that made his life as large as his physical presence. A very entertaining book that is easy to read because each small chapter deals with an extensive period of his life. All in all this is a good book to compliment other books on Rivera to get an even more accurate but distorted view of his brilliance. Included are several pictures and paintings from throughout his life. The man , the myth and the artist are here for you to decipher the truth and paint your own picture.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fact and Fiction Jan. 20 2003
By Enrique Torres - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a mixture of fact and fantasy, the real real and imagined world as conjured by the mind of Diego Rivera as told to Gladys March. The invention of facts, the fabrication of the bits of truth to create a colorful story are the result of a newspaper interview that flourished into a series of interviews over many years. Beginning in 1944 and continuing until his death in 1957 Gladys March spent several months each year collecting over 2000 pages of notes that eventually formed the basis of this book. As another customer reviewer stated this is not the place to start when you reading about the life of Rivera since the lines between fact and fiction are blurred at best. A more accurate picture can be found in "dreaming With His Eyes Open" by Patrick Marnham. If you have a foundation in the life and times of one of the great Mexican artists than this book reflects a colorful and imaginative mind. The brillance of his art aside Diego reveals himself and makes no excuses for the parts of his pesonality that are less than desireable. He talks about his experiment in cannanbilsm, witchcraft, his blaphemous treatment of religion and the church, the communist party, his relationships with world leaders, artists and women, his advetures in Europe, the United States and Mexico, his troubles and ills , including his bout with cancer of the penis and in general the things that made his life as large as his physical presence. A very entertaining book that is easy to read because each small chapter deals with an extensive period of his life. All in all this is a good book to compliment other books on Rivera to get an even more accurate but distorted view of his brilliance. Included are several pictures and paintings from throughout his life. The man , the myth and the artist are here for you to decipher the truth and paint your own picture.
29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strictly Fantasy Aug. 31 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you have not yet read anything about the life of Diego Rivera, don't start with this book. While Rivera's re-imagining of his life is riveting, it is merely one more tall tale. Rivera is known for many talents, however, sticking to the truth is not one of them.
If you already have a solid background in the artists life, then by all means read this book to get a sharper insight into his mental inner-workings!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fiction is stranger than truth Sept. 6 2011
By Karl Janssen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Diego Rivera was one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century. His life was a thrilling adventure in art, politics, and history. Yet in his autobiography My Art, My Life, co-written with American journalist Gladys March, Rivera still felt the need to embellish his life story with a truckload of tall tales and fabrications. When he was six years old, for example, he gave an impromptu atheistic sermon at his local church that was so impressive he was immediately granted an honorary induction into a society of liberal intelligentsia. Ridiculous, yes; and that's only the beginning. Throughout the book, Rivera constantly makes himself out to be a macho, revolutionary tough guy. (He could have killed Porfirio Diaz and Adolf Hitler, if only someone else hadn't stopped him.) Yet whenever anyone criticizes the deliberately provocative and controversial imagery in his paintings, he suddenly adopts the attitude of a disingenuous schoolboy: "Who, me? I never meant to offend anyone."

Gladys March does well to preserve Rivera's fictions; it is not her job to censor him. She does not get off scot-free, however. Not only does she take Rivera's stories and translate them from Spanish to English, she also takes the words of an intellectual visionary and translates them into the language of an eighth-grader. The short, choppy sentences and elementary vocabulary make for uncomfortable and occasionally tiresome reading. There are factual errors, as well, which could be attributed to March rather than Rivera. The artist and educator Gerardo Murillo, who called himself Dr. Atl, is here referred to throughout as Murillo Atl, as if that were his given name. At one point Rivera talks about painting a 40 x 65 foot mural at the Ministry of Education. There is no forty-foot-tall Rivera mural in that building, so he must have been talking about some other building, perhaps the National Palace? Later, while Rivera discusses the "painting" of his mural at the Teatro de los Insurgentes, never once is it mentioned that the finished mural is not a painting but, in fact, a mosaic. These are a few examples of confusing discrepancies of fact which distract from the already distracting self-mythologizing of Rivera.

Despite these shortcomings, the true value of this book becomes evident when Rivera discusses the creation of his art, his growth as an artist, and the development of his artistic philosophy. On these subjects he is frank and forthright. Because of my admiration for Rivera as an artist and my fascination with Mexican culture and history, it's almost impossible for me not to like a book on this subject matter, especially when it comes from the mouth of the master himself. As far as Rivera biographies go, however, I prefer The Fabulous Life of Diego Rivera by Bertram Wolfe. Although Wolfe was a friend of the artist, he's not afraid to point out Rivera's faults. Here the only fault Rivera will own up to is his ill treatment of women. (As appendices, the book includes brief statements by each of Rivera's four wives, providing a welcome dose of reality.) This book does have its flaws, and after reading it I must admit my estimation of Rivera may have dropped a notch or two, but those interested in Mexican art will appreciate this unique glimpse into the mind (and ego) of a genius.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diego Rivera's Life Story Oct. 30 2008
By Jamshed Mathur - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
On a visit to Mexico City I saw this book at a store attached to a museum
depicting some of the work of Diego Rivera, the Mexican mural painter. I
promptly bought a paper - back copy of the book though at a greatly inflated price charged by the store.

Gladys March, an American journalist, commenced interviewing Rivera in 1944 for this book but it was not until a final manuscript had been checked by Rivera shortly before his death in 1957, that the book was finally published in 1960. She has done a superb job in writing the book as though it were an autobiography in Rivera's own words. An absolutely
fascinating 'extra' is the Appendix which recounts statements made by Rivera's four wives and/or live-in companions.

I strongly recommend the book to anyone who admires Mexican mural painting
and would like some knowledge of its supreme artist, Diego Rivera.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars July 15 2014
By K. Barone - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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