The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate,
MD, Senior Contributing Editor.
His name conjures up photography, not painting. Yet, for the first forty
or so years of his life Edward J. Steichen (1879-1973) straddled two worlds,
their origins separated by centuries: one was painting, frequently in the
medieval medium of tempera, and the other the avant-garde world of photography,
its technology so cutting edge that few could ever conceive of it as one of
the fine arts. For Steichen photography won out: in 1922 he burned all the
paintings that still remained in his studio outside Paris; from then on he
would devote his life to photography. The paintings that happen to survive
today are the accidents of his generosity: gifts he had made to friends before
the sacrificial burning. Such a one is Le Tournesol (The
Sunflower) (cover), which
he gave to Francis Jourdain sometime between 1920 and 1922, and which has
been in the permanent collection at the National Gallery of Art since 1999.
Southgate MT. Le Tournesol (The Sunflower). JAMA. 2001;285(21):2685. doi:10.1001/jama.285.21.2685