Frida Kahlo and Henry Ford Hospital

Since I started writing this blog in November 2010, I’ve covered a great deal of topics related to The Henry Ford Hospital, our patients and our employees, as well as my role as President and CEO.

It’s all been about what’s happening NOW and where we’re headed in the future.

But today I want to take a step back in time, so to speak, to take a closer look at – and even offer some new insight into – an important piece of our nearly 96-year history and Detroit’s rich Hispanic community.

I’m sure many of you have visited the Detroit Institute of Arts and viewed one of its most esteemed (and at times controversial) pieces – Detroit Industry.

Between 1932 and 1933, Mexican painter Diego Rivera was commissioned by Edsel Ford, the son of auto pioneer and our hospital’s founder, Henry Ford, to complete this famous series of 27 fresco panels.

This project also had another significant tie to Henry Ford Hospital: Diego Rivera’s wife and fellow artist, Frida Kahlo. Frida suffered a miscarriage while in Detroit with her husband, and she was hospitalized at Henry Ford Hospital.

The experience inspired Frida to paint one of her most recognized pieces, aptly named Henry Ford Hospital.

But there’s more to this story.

At a Southwest Detroit Business breakfast this summer, I had the pleasure to meet Frank Venegas, Jr., a Detroit entrepreneur and the driving force behind Ideal Group.

Frank told a story at the event about Frida Kahlo’s hospitalization, and how his grandmother, a Mexican immigrant, went to Henry Ford Hospital to assist in her care in 1932.

Recently, I met again with Frank – this time in the DIA’s Rivera Court– to talk more about his family’s connection to Frida Kahlo and Henry Ford Hospital, and Detroit’s thriving Hispanic community.

Watch the above video clip to see my interview with Frank.

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