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The Cover
January 2, 2013

Sun Storm

JAMA. 2013;309(1):10. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.167330

Sun Storm (cover), by the German-born American painter Oscar Bluemner (1867-1938), is a composition of simple shapes representing the sun and sky. In the painting, a lava-red sun with a blue corona throws off pale green flares. Bluemner gave credit to the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh for demonstrating that an artist's vision can be expressed in colors that may not be optically accurate. In photography, a false-color image can reveal features, such as water, vegetation, or land forms, that are not otherwise visible. As a painter, Bluemner was less interested in revealing hidden features than in using color as a psychic stimulus, analogous to the way that music can be composed to express or evoke a mood. In the language of music, Bluemner's paintings are harmonies of complementary colors. The choice of colors often reflected his frustration, alienation, and the pride he took in the quality of his work.

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