Henry Ford Hospital
On July 4th, 1932, Frida suffered a miscarriage in the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. In this disturbing work, Kahlo paints herself lying on her back in a hospital bed after a miscarriage. The figure in the painting is unclothed, the sheets beneath her are bloody, and a large tear falls from her left eye. The bed and its sad inhabitant float in an abstract space circled by six images relating to the miscarriage. All of the images are tied to blood-red filaments that she holds against her stomach as if they were umbilical cords. The main image is a perfectly formed male fetus, little “Dieguito“, she had longed to have. The orchid was a gift from Diego. “When I painted it I had the idea of a sexual thing mixed with the sentimental” Frida said. The snail she said, alludes to the slow paced miscarriage. The salmon pink plaster female torso she said was her “idea of explaining the insides of a woman”. The cruel looking machine she invented “to explain the mechanical part of the whole business“. Finally, in the lower right corner is her fractured pelvis that made it impossible for her to have children.
This painting contains all the basic elements of a “Frida style” ex-voto (retablo): small in size, painted on tin, depicts a tragic event and an inscription. The only not so obvious element is the “Saint” or “Savior”. In this case it is the Henry Ford Hospital that saved her life.