Our Art / Séraphine Louis

Séraphine Louis

Séraphine Louis

Self-taught, French painter Louis (1864–1942) was inspired by her religious upbringing and the art of stained-glass church windows which influenced the illuminated colors of her work. A domestic worker by day, Louis painted by candlelight, largely in secret isolation. She used colors and pigments that she made herself from unusual ingredients she never revealed, which have stood the test of time in how they’ve maintained vibrancy. Her work was discovered by a German art collector; impressed by a still-life of apples in his neighbor's home he was astonished to learn that Louis, his housecleaner, was the artist. Under his patronage, Louis began painting large canvases as large as two meters high and came to achieve prominence as a painter.

Louis's works are fantastical, richly painted floral arrangements, often with repeated and embellished elements. Her paintings’ surfaces have a matte, almost waxy appearance. The intensity of her designs, in color and in repetition, are sometimes interpreted as a reflection of the artist’s psyche, walking a tightrope between ecstasy and psychosis.

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