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Roman, M. Stastny, P. (1987). An Inquiry into Art and Madness: The Career of Jochen Seidel. Ann. Psychoanal., 15:269-291.

(1987). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 15:269-291

An Inquiry into Art and Madness: The Career of Jochen Seidel

Mel Roman, Ph.D. and Peter Stastny, M.D.

I have a statement of a human kind to make in my work, and the raw material for it is my life.

Jochen Seidel

A year after making this statement, Jochen Seidel, a gifted German painter, hanged himself from the ceiling of his New York studio. At the time of his death he was 47, twice divorced, and estranged from both the son of his first marriage and the son and daughter of his second. He had miraculously survived three prior suicide attempts, was deeply in debt, and had few friends; in spite of the fact that his exceedingly original work had gained him considerable recognition in Germany he had failed to achieve any success in the United States.

This article is an attempt to understand the various and complex ways in which Seidel's life informed and shaped his art, and to raise again the many unanswered questions about the relationship between art and madness.

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