Henry Ford Hospital, 1932 by Frida Kahlo

Henry Ford Hospital (The Flying Bed), 1932 by Frida Kahlo
Courtesy of www.FridaKahlo.org

In this painting, Frida depicts herself in Henry Ford Hospital, lying on the bed naked with blood and hemorrhage. As in Four Inhabitants of Mexico, this painting has a very intimate space. The body is twisted and the bed is tipped up and that adds the feelings of helplessness and disconnection. The discomfort showed with the way she painted her body: from the waist up she turns toward the viewer; from the waist down she turns away.

This painting is a reflection of what Frida felt when she was having a miscarriage at Henry Ford Hospital. There are six objects flying around her. A male fetus which is the son of her and Diego she has longed to have. The fetus is based on a medical illustration. An orchid looks like a uterus. The stomach she holds against the red ribbons and they look like umbilical cords. The snail is the symbol of the slowness of the operation.

This painting is also the first painting Frida used sheet metal as its support. Diego Rivera wanted to improve Frida's mood after the miscarriage and encouraged her to try to paint on tin panels. He suggested her to paint the years of her life if she cannot find anything to paint. This painting mixed reality and fantasy and portraited in such a straightforward, primitivistic style.