Fulang-Chang and I + (detail), Frida Khalo, 1937 (assembled after 1939)
Fulang-Chang and I depicts Kahlo with one of her pet monkeys, interpreted by many as surrogates for the children she and Diego Rivera were unable to conceive. The painting was included in the first major exhibition of her work, held at Julien Levy Gallery in New York in 1938. In the essay that accompanied the show, the Surrealist leader André Breton described Kahlo’s work as “a ribbon around a bomb” and hailed her as a self-created Surrealist painter. Although she appreciated his enthusiasm for her work, Kahlo did not agree with his assessment: “They thought I was a Surrealist but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.” Kahlo later gave this painting to her close friend Mary Sklar, attaching a mirror to it so that, if Sklar chose, the two friends could be together.
Frida Kahlo was born today in 1907. This work, Fulang-Chang and I, was included in her first major exhibition in New York in 1938. She later gave the painting to her close friend Mary Sklar, attaching a mirror to it so that, if Sklar chose, the two friends could be together. This work is currently on view in our Fifth Floor Painting and Sculpture galleries.
Celebrate Chinese New Year and the year of the monkey with Frida Kahlo’s self-portrait with her pet monkey, Fulang-Chang. This painting was shown in the first major exhibition of Kahlo’s work in New York in 1938.