Louis Mader was born in Germany in 1842 and came to the United States in 1867, during a period when the almshouses were filling with recent immigrants. He was first admitted to the Berks County Almshouse in 1892 and over the next three years painted at least eight views of that institution. Unlike Charles Hofmann, the best-known "Pennsylvania Almshouse Painter," Mader never depicted any of the other almshouses, and his only known non-almshouse subject was in a painted mural on a house in Parksburg, Pennsylvania.
The last record of Mader is that he left the Berks County Almshouse in 1899. [This is an edited version of the artist's biography published, or to be published, in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]
Armstrong, Thomas. Pennsylvania Almshouse Painters. Exh. brochure Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center, Williamsburg, 1968.
Chotner, Deborah, with contributions by Julie Aronson, Sarah D. Cash, and Laurie Weitzenkorn. American Naive Paintings. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1992: 249.