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The Cover
March 16, 2005

Rondine 5. März 62 g

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2005;293(11):1300. doi:10.1001/jama.293.11.1300

The German painter Julius Bissier (1893-1965) was born and raised in Freiburg im Breisgau. His ties to the area were deep: his mother’s family had farmed in the Black Forest area for generations and his father’s people were craftsmen in the town. Bissier’s interest in drawing began during childhood. After completing his schooling in Freiburg, he went to Karlsruhe Academy where he began his formal art studies at age 20. Within months, however, he was conscripted into the military when World War I began. At war’s end he chose to study on his own and, in 1920, had his first solo exhibit in Freiburg. The decade would be important to the development of his ideas. Early on, he met the art historian and psychiatrist Hans Prinzhorn, who directed his attention to the writings of the mid-19th-century Swiss historian and mythologist Johann Bachofen. Later, he met the eminent sinologist Ernst Grosse, who was also the author of a monograph on East Asian India ink drawing. Grosse would interest Bissier in ancient Chinese thought and in drawings based on contemplation. Finally, in 1930, in Paris, Bissier met the Romanian-born sculptor Constantin Brancusi, who reinforced the meditative aspects of the practice of painting. Painting, he taught Bissier, is first a state of being, and then—and only to a much lesser degree—a state of doing.

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