A domestic worker who had labored for many years in a convent before becoming a housekeeper, Louis painted floral motifs on household items, canvases, and boards. Her talent was recognized by one of her employers, the German art critic, dealer, and collector Wilhelm Uhde. The title Tree of Paradise suggests a concern with religious themes, and the work’s arrangement of jewel-like leaves recalls the stained glass windows of Gothic churches. Louis flattened the elements of landscape into a single plane; a tree extends diagonally across water, as grass and sky weave together to create a decorative interplay of patterns.
- MoMA, Floor 5, 521 The Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Galleries
This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
Wilhelm Uhde (1874-1947), Paris, c. 1928 . Albert Lewin (1894-1968), New York, by 1953 ; Estate of Albert Lewin; sold through Parke-Bernet, New York to Sidney Janis, New York, December 12, 1968 ; acquired by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1971.
 Hans Körner and Manja Wilkens, Séraphine Louis 1864-1942: Biographie / Werkverzeichnis. Berlin: Reimer, 2009, no. 46, pp. 99-101.
 Collection file 37.1971, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
 Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Paintings and Sculpture, Parke Bernet Galleries, New York, December 12, 1968, no. 65 (title: Grand bouquet de fleurs).
Provenance research is a work in progress, and is frequently updated with new information. If you have any questions or information to provide about the listed works, please email [email protected] or write to:
Provenance Research Project
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019
If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).
All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.
If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].