Thursday, 19 April 2012

Seraphine Louis

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What would you do if you lived in a time or location where art materials were not readily available? I have spent some time considering this question & my solutions included burning wood to make charcoal, creating sculptures from natural/found materials & using natural substances to make my own pigments. One artist took this idea to the extreme.


Seraphine Louis was a French domestic and, unbeknown to many of her employers, a committed & driven artist. Due to her impoverished life, she could not afford to buy commercially produced materials. Her ingenious solution was to gather everyday substances, such as wine, soot & oil & transform them into vivid pigments which she used to depict her natural surroundings.


Yolande Moreau plays Seraphine in Martin Provost's 2008 film of the same title. This charming & gentle film reveals the artist's delight in the beauty of her natural surroundings. She is depicted as both grounded by her life of domestic work yet somewhat detached from the society in which she lives by her compulsion to paint.
The film centres on the relationship between Seraphine & Willhelm Uhde. Uhde was both an  art dealer & collector who had exhibited Picasso as early as 1908. He organised the first exhibition of naive art in Paris, which included work by Rousseau alongside those of Seraphine Louis & others.

Seraphine believed that the angels were commanding her to paint. One day she said that the angels had gone and she never painted again. Seraphine developed mental health difficulties & ended her days in an institution.

The film deservedly won seven French academy awards when it was released in 2008.

If you would like to find out more info about the film, the image above is a link to the film on Amazon.

Discovering Watercolour is an exciting new course for those wanting to explore this vibrant & inspiring medium - click here for more info.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing dear Erica! This post really made me curious and there is a big chance that I will buy the movie, as I am really intrigued by what you wrote about her ...
    Artists' lives really interest and fascinate me, so this will be a nice one to add to my collection!
    Wishing you a beautiful weekend with hopefully a lot of sun!

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  2. I have enjoyed that film multiple times. I love the photograph you found of her, I had never seen what her actual likeness was, or with her paintings!

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