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Article
March 11, 1988

Alzheimer's Disease: Unskilled Vulgarity Decays Into Stunning Artistic Genius-Reply

Author Affiliations

West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine
Los Angeles County—University of Southern California Medical Center

West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine
Los Angeles County—University of Southern California Medical Center

JAMA. 1988;259(10):1495. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720100017014

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Abstract

In Reply.  —We appreciate the interest shown in our article by Drs Wright and Abis dla Clara. We too noted the impressionistic appearance of the painting produced by the patient with Alzheimer's disease after five years of illness and we mentioned it in our original report. A key feature distinguishing his style from that of Van Gogh is its inadvertence. The patient with Alzheimer's disease was pleased with his original productions and was striving to reproduce their quality. He was unable to appreciate any change in his ability as his disease progressed and he discussed all his art (even the latest highly degenerated sketches) with equal enthusiasm. In contrast to our patient's unintended impressionistic style that stemmed from his inability to achieve his former level of perspective, color choice, and definition, the style of Van Gogh was highly determined and was executed with genius. The productions by our patient might

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