Séraphine de Senlis
Guy Lochhead, 10/09/10
French naïve painter. She was self-taught and inspired by her religious faith and stained-glass church windows. She was born to labourer parents who both died before she was seven. She became a shepherd and then a housekeeper. Her secret paintings were discovered by Wilhelm Uhde, a German art collector. Uhde championed her work before having to leave France at the outbreak of the First World War. After the war, they reestablished contact, and Uhde bought large numbers of her paintings, providing her with more money than she’d ever known. She couldn’t cope with her new-found wealth, and was admitted to a psychiatric ward in 1932, where she couldn’t paint. Uhde mistakenly wrote that she died there in 1934, and continued to exhibit her work. In fact, she died in 1942, isolated and alone. There is no hope to Séraphine story – only capitalist art industry exploitation, weird hierarchical art delusion and a religious fantasist.

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