Séraphine Louis (1864 – 1942), also known as Séraphine de Senlis, was a French self-taught artist. She was from the town of Senlis, north of Paris, and worked as a house cleaner. She struggled with mental illness most of her life and seemed to find solace in her paintings.
She worked in solitude by candlelight, creating colorful and whimsical paintings of flowers and plants based mostly on her imagination. In order to afford paint, she made her own pigments using household and plant items, such as red wine, flowers, and candle wax.
Séraphine was discovered by German art collector Wilhelm Uhde in 1912. He was a collector of Henri Rousseau and Pablo Picasso’s work, among other notable artists of the time. Uhde came across a painting by Seraphine at his neighbor’s home where she worked as a cleaner. Uhde did his best to support her work as an artist and included her an exhibition held in Paris in 1928, called “Painters of the Sacred Heart,” The other artists included: Henri Rousseau, André Bauchant, and Camille Bombois.
In 2008, a film by Martin Provost was released about Seraphine’s life. You can view the trailer here.
Image Credit: Séraphine Louis [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Ferdinand Cheval, the creator of Palais Idéal, was born in 1836 in Charmes-sur-l’herbasse, a village near Hauterives, France. He worked as a rural postman for most of his life.
In 1879, at the age of 43, Cheval stumbled over a rock during one of his mail delivery runs. Inspired by the rock’s unusual shape, Cheval began his dream of creating a palace. He worked on Palais Idéal for 33 years, and it took approximately 3,500 bags of lime to construct the palace. Read more…
Jardin de Rosa Mir was created by Jules Senis (1913-1983). Senis was a mason who specialized in tiling. Originally from Spain, Senis headed to France in 1947 to escape from the Spanish Civil War. He and his family made a home in La Croix-Rousse, the 4th arrondissement of Lyon, France.
After being diagnosed with cancer, Senis promised that if he recovered, he would design a beautiful garden in honor of his mother, Rosa Mir Mercader. He kept his vow and began work on the garden in 1957. Senis continued to work on it for another twenty years. The space for the garden was only 400 square meters, but this did not discourage Senis from finding a way to fill it up with plants and flowers. He built parts of the garden upwards by making several tall pillars with connected arches. The structures are intricately embellished with shells and stones.
The garden is now a historical site, and it is taken care of by the City of Lyon. Visitors can view the garden on Saturdays during the summer.