They were the medical student and the art student and they first met
in 1904 at Mrs Chain's boarding house on Locust Street in Philadelphia where
they were attending the University of Pennsylvania and the Drexel Institute
of Art, Science and Industry, respectively. Their friendship would last for
more than three decades, until the art student died in 1935. The medical student,
meanwhile, had become a busy pediatrician in Paterson, NJ, a writer of short
stories, and an acclaimed poet of the American avant-garde movement. Many
years later, when he wrote his autobiography, William Carlos Williams recalled
his friend Charles Demuth (1883-1935) as a "wisp of a man," who was lame and
appeared tuberculous. Demuth, in turn, immortalized Williams in a 1928 painting
whose title was taken from one of Williams' most famous poems, "I Saw the
Figure 5 in Gold" (JAMA cover, January 2, 1981).
Southgate MT. Zinnia Bouquet. JAMA. 2004;292(8):900. doi:10.1001/jama.292.8.900
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