Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Fireblossom Friday: Seraphine Louis


Hello dear Toads and pond dwellers. It's me, Fireblossom, with another Fireblossom Friday. Today I want to see if we can find inspiration in the art of "naive" painter Seraphine Louis, or Seraphine de Senlis.

Seraphine was an uneducated, untrained French housecleaner, who believed that her guardian angel had told her to start painting--at the age of 41! Influenced by her faith and by stained glass church windows, and using paints of her own devising, she began painting at night, after cleaning and doing laundry for other people all day.

She was dismissed by her "betters" until a German art critic saw her painting of some apples and bought it. His name was Wilhelm Uhde, and he had discovered both Picasso and Rousseau. He encouraged Seraphine to paint, and she did. Unfortunately, with the outbreak of World War One, Uhde had to leave France and return to Germany. He did not see Seraphine again until 1927. 

Throughout the 1920's, Seraphine was prolific. Just when she was making money for the first time in her life, the Great Depression hit and the market for art dried up. By 1932, she had been admitted to Clermont Lunatic sylum, where she lived out her days and never painted again, saying her art was "gone in the night." She died in 1942.

Today's challenge is to look at her art and be inspired by it. Alternate subjects could be these: write about the thin line between genius and madness, or the difficulty of creating art while needing to support one's self, or write about following a calling despite all obstacles, because one must.


Please make it a NEW poem, written for this challenge. Enjoy!

19 comments:

myheartslovesongs.com said...

I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm unfamiliar with Seraphine's beautiful paintings! The one of the apples sings to me!

I hope my muse will come home long enough for me to write something for your challenge, Ms Fireblossom!

cosmos cami said...

I was delighted with how inspiring these works were to me!
I love her use of shape and composition. I love the connective themes I see that link her pieces.
Excellent prompt! Thanks for the introduction to this artist.

Sumana Roy said...

Thanks for the wonderful prompt..

Susie Clevenger said...

Such beautiful art and such tragedy for the artist. Thanks for the prompt Fireblossom!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I so completely relate to this artist - especially to the cleaning for others. What a sad life, but how glorious that her work was recognized. I am out of town all day but will be write something later or tomorrow.......the line between madness and genius appeals too........Lord knows I know that topic with two brilliant children who walk that fine line daily. Great prompt! Will be back!

Kerry O'Connor said...

What a very interesting story! Thanks for bringing this one to us, Shay.

Susan said...

wow, wow wow wow--I am bowled over, and couldn't speak from first encounter with this prompt til writing rough notes, reading about her and refining. Seraphine's art work is very exciting. Thank you, Fireblossom.

Helen said...

Fascinating! I have just ordered the DVD from Amazon! Thank you so much, Shay.

Mama Zen said...

I find these profoundly disturbing. Maybe I'm just weird. Really cool prompt, Shay.

ccchampagne said...

Loved the prompt, but not too keen on this school of art... And apparently I'm obsessed with treating people equally in this write!

Hannah said...

So much to love about this post and artist...thank you Fireblossom for the challenge!

Hannah said...

I'll need to return to comment...my external keyboard and mouse are being wonkie so I want to shut down in case something weird is happening that I don't know about. Be reading soon... :)

grapeling said...

really interesting artist and story, Shay. thank you for bringing her to the garden ~

Fireblossom said...

I think I have visited everyone, but if I missed you, please let me know. Everyone did a great job!

Margaret said...

I adore this challenge,Shay! I moved my college daughter out of her dorm and am swamped with year end school stuff with my kids. (Also house is up for sale and have to have it clean and ready to show at all times. Ugh). I also need to visit and comment on numerous other prompts before I feel right about joining another prompt. But I will be doing this amazing one - just a tad but late!

cosmos cami said...

Up until now, the only naïve artist I was really aware of was Henri Rousseau. I don't like his work particularly, but these I love.
I've really enjoyed reading everyone's poems.
This was a great challenge!

purplepeninportland said...

Thanks for introducing me to this wonderful artist.

Mine is up at:

https://purplepeninportland.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/sweetest/

manicddaily said...

Hey Shay, a very belated post. I tend to very much like naive/outsider artists--I am reminded of one in the East Village who had huge numbers of paintings made on cut canvas that she sold for $1 a piece. Sometime will write of her, but really enjoyed thinking of this one. K.

myheartslovesongs.com said...

sorry i'm so late! i was surprised at which of Seraphine's works ended up inspiring my muse. i feel a real sense of joy in the bright colors she used!

thanks for such a wonderful prompt, FB!