Francis Reitmann

Dr. Francis Reitmann (19051955) was a British psychiatrist. In the 1930s, after studying with Ladislas J. Meduna, he worked at Maudsley Hospital. In 1945 he was appointed as Director of Clinical Research at Netherne Hospital in Coulsdon, and worked with Eric Cunningham Dax.[1] He was involved in the research sessions into art and mental health run by Edward Adamson, the pioneer of Art Therapy, between 1946 and 1950.[2] In 1950 he published his influential book, "Psychotic Art".[3]

Reitmann followed the theory of biological psychiatry that organic defects were the sole source of mental illness,[4] and therefore mental problems could be treated by physical means; he carried out experiments in the fields of shock therapy [5] and leucotomy [6]

His surname is sometimes spelled Reitman.


  1. Kirkby, K.C. (1998) Art for psychiatry's sake: an interview with Dr E. Cunningham Dax. History of Psychiatry 9:39-49.
  2. Hogan, S. (2001). Healing Arts: the history of art therapy. London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  3. Reitman, F. (1950). Psychotic Art. London. Routledge & Kevin Paul.
  4. Reitman, F. (1954) Insanity, Art and Culture. 111pp. Philosophical Library: New York.
  5. McCrae, N. (2006) ‘A violent thunderstorm’: Cardiazol treatment in British mental hospitals. History of Psychiatry 17: 67-90.
  6. Dax, E. C., Reitmann, F. & Radley-Smith, E. J. (1949) Investigations into Clinical Problems of Prefrontal Leucotomy. Proceedings 1st International Conference on Psychosurgery, Lisboa 167-170.

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