Frida Kahlo: My Dress Hangs There, 1933
Oil and Collage on masonite, 46 x 50 cm, Original; FEMSA, Monterrey, Mexico
After more than three years in America, Frida wanted desperately to return to Mexico. Diego, however, remained fascinated by the country and did not want to leave. Out of the conflict came this painting. This painting is atypical of Frida’s style; the composition is diffuse with many objects and symbols. Usually Frida Kahlo’s paintings have one central figure, mainly herself.
This painting represents a portrait of American capitalism and contradictions as Frida saw them in 1933. It portrays a modern American industrial society which treats people like machines. Frida takes an opposite view to her husband, who was expressing his approval of industrial progress in a mural in the Rockefeller Center.
Already in 1933, Frida Kahlo illustrates the importance of Wall Street by painting the shares evolution by months over the years from 1931 to 1933; the importance of the oil companies (Standard Oil on the right hand side of the painting); the black telephone cable which, like a spider web, connects everything and everyone.
What is missing from this painting is the focal point of nearly all Frida's paintings…herself. Instead, Frida's Tehuana dress hangs empty and alone, this may be her way of saying "I may be in America but only my dress hangs there…my heart is in Mexico."
This paintings is made in a mixed mode: oil on wood with collage and tempera.