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June 10, 1998


JAMA. 1998;279(22):1764. doi:10.1001/jama.279.22.1764

The son of German immigrants, (Julius) Gari(baldi) Melchers (1860-1932) was born in Detroit, Mich, just prior to the start of the American Civil War. His father was Julius Theodore Melchers, a Westphalian sculptor. When, at age 17, young Melchers was sent abroad to study art, the family origins were probably a factor in determining that he would study in Düsseldorf rather than in Munich or Paris, then the much more popular destinations for young Americans studying in Europe. After four years, 1877-1881, at the Royal Academy of Art in that Westphalian capital, Melchers did, however, go to Paris; he studied at the Académie Julian and the École des Beaux-Arts with Gustav Boulanger and Jules Lefebvre. Melchers arrived in Paris at the very time the art world was torn between the academicians and the Impressionists and when Manet, a major influence on the Impressionists as well as a major focus of the controversy, was in his last years. Although Melchers' work would later exhibit Impressionistic tendencies, he was firmly grounded in drawing and modeling from his Düsseldorf days and his work at that time seemed to please the academic camp: he won an Honorable Mention at the Paris Salon of 1886.

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