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The Cover
January 14, 1998

Two Doors

JAMA. 1998;279(2):95. doi:10.1001/jama.279.2.95

He was a left-hander in a world designed for right-handers. Moreover, as if to confirm this "unlucky" beginning, he also stammered badly. His penmanship was barely readable, and, in general, he did not do well in either elementary or secondary school. But, he had a visual memory that stored whatever to him was beautiful: poetry, literature, and above all, the shapes of things. To this uncanny eye for form was wedded an equally acute sense of color, the two so closely bonded that one could scarcely be imagined without the other. Most remarkable, however, were the subjects of his paintings: Unlike those who were turning the "found object" into a work they called art, he had an affinity for the discarded object, which he then raised from object to subject—from what had once been acted upon to what now acted. His name is little known today and was scarcely better known during his lifetime, yet Walter Tandy Murch (1907-1967) has taken his place among those he once admired: Reginald Marsh, his teachers Kenneth Hayes Miller and Arshile Gorky, his friend Joseph Cornell, and those other icons of the mid 20th century, Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, and Jack Tworkov.

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