Art and Insanity: Séraphine Louis, Naïve Genius


51iRjfgygMLOn the 11th of December 1942, a naïve painter, Séraphine Louis, also known as “Séraphine de Senlis“, died in a Villers-sous-Erquery hospital in northern France, although according to her mentor, Wilhelm Uhde, she died at Clermont’s lunatic asylum in 1934. It is questionable then whether Uhde wanted to withdraw from being associated with the mentally ill painter or he simply did it to round up the story of her life to a reasonably respectful ending.

Séraphine Luis was a poor and simple woman. Born in 1864 to a family of labourers, she was orphaned at the age of seven. She was then taken care of by her older sister and from early childhood worked as a shepherdess. Later on in her life she was employed as a servant to middle-class families in the town of Senlis. One of the households she worked in was that one of…

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