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The Cover
April 4, 2007

Umbrellas in the Rain

JAMA. 2007;297(13):1408. doi:10.1001/jama.297.13.1408

Armed with his carefully annotated Baedeker and the enthusiasm of a tourist, the 39-year-old American artist Maurice Prendergast (1858-1924) (JAMA covers, May 2, 1990, and August 26, 1992) set out in the summer of 1898 to visit the museums and other attractions of northern Italy; he stayed for 18 months. This was not his first trip abroad. Earlier, he had spent three years in Paris studying at the Atelier Colarossi and the Académie Julian, both popular destinations for young American artists. Among his teachers at that time were Gustave Courtois, Benjamin Constant, Joseph Blanc, and Jean-Paul Laurens. He had also discovered the Nabis and had come under the influence of the atmospheric, nearly transparent surfaces of James Abbott McNeill Whistler's paintings. But, if not his first trip to Europe, the current one was certainly proving to be his most exciting. It would establish his reputation as a major watercolorist and pave the way to his becoming designated as “America's first Modern painter.”