Art and Images in Psychiatry |

La Cortisone

James C. Harris, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67(4):317. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.29.
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In December 1949, Freddy Homburger, MD, a skilled watercolorist, saw a photograph of French painter, illustrator, and decorator Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) in Life magazine that showed his hands had been deformed by rheumatoid arthritis. The renowned artist, one of the most popular of the 20th century, was increasingly disabled, could not stand without help, and struggled to paint using only his left hand, having lost the use of his right. Dr Homburger, familiar with recent treatment trials with ACTH (corticotropin) and cortisone for arthritis, wrote to Dufy, explained the risk of participating in clinical research, and offered to hospitalize him on his research unit in Boston should he decide to participate in a clinical treatment trial. Dufy's physician, familiar with the groundbreaking research of Philip Hench, MD, on the treatment of arthritis with cortisone at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, encouraged him to accept. On April 6, 1950, Dufy responded with gratitude, writing, “You bring me today my recompense in offering your art and your science in the alleviation of the pains of my illness.”2(p60)

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Raoul Dufy (1877-1953), French. La Cortisone, 1951. Color lithograph, 18 × 23 in. Courtesy of Archives Direction of the Sanofi-Aventis Group, Paris, France.

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Raoul Dufy (1877-1953), French. La Cortisone, 1951. Color lithograph, 18 × 23 in. Courtesy of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. ©2010 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY/ADAGP, Paris, France.

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