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Anna Mary Robertson Moses (September 7 1860December 13 1961), better known as "Grandma Moses", was a renowned Americanmarker folk artist. She is most often cited as an example of an individual successfully beginning a career in the arts at an advanced age.

Painting

Moses began painting in her seventies after abandoning a career in embroidery because of arthritis. Louis J. Caldor, a collector, discovered her paintings in a Hoosick Falls, New Yorkmarker drugstore window in 1938. In 1939, an art dealer, Otto Kallir, exhibited some of her work in his Galerie Saint-Etienne in New York. This brought her to the attention of collectors all over the world, and her paintings became highly sought after. She went on to exhibit her work throughout Europe and in Japanmarker, where her work was particularly well received. She continued her prolific output of paintings, the demand for which never diminished during her lifetime. Grandma Moses painted mostly scenes of rural life. Some of her many paintings were used on the covers of Hallmark cards.

Her early style is less individual and more realistic, despite her lack of knowledge of (or perhaps rejection of) basic perspective. She did not develop her immediately recognizable signature folk style until later. Many of her early paintings in the realist style were given to family members as thank-you gifts after her visits. She was a prolific painter, generating over 3600 canvasses in 3 decades. Before her fame, she would charge $2 for a small painting and $3 for a large. Her winter paintings are reminiscent of some of the known winter paintings of Pieter Bruegel, the Elder, such as The Hunters in the Snow and Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap.

In 1946 her painting The Old Checkered Inn in Summer was featured in the background of a national advertising campaign for the young women's lip gloss Primitive Red by Du Barry cosmetics.

President Harry S. Truman presented her with the Women's National Press Club trophy Award for outstanding accomplishment in art in 1949, and in 1951 she appeared on See It Now, a television program hosted by Edward R. Murrow. In 1952 she published her autobiography and titled it Grandma Moses: My Life's History.

On her 100th birthday in 1960, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller proclaimed the day "Grandma Moses Day" in her honor.

In November 2006, her work Sugaring Off (1943), became her highest selling work at US $1.2 million. The work was a clear example of the simple rural scenes she became known for.

Legacy

A 1942 piece, The Old Checkered House, 1862 was appraised at the Memphis 2004 Antiques Roadshow. The painting was a summer scene in Geneva, New Yorkmarker, not as common as her winter landscapes. Originally purchased in the 1940s for under $10, the piece was assigned an insurance value of $60,000 by the appraiser, Alan Fausel.

Another of her paintings, Fourth of July, was painted in honor of President Eisenhower and still hangs today in the White Housemarker.

The character Granny on the popular 1960s rural comedy television series The Beverly Hillbillies was named Daisy Moses as an homage to Grandma Moses, who died shortly before the series began.

Norman Rockwell, who, for a time, lived in Arlington, Vermontmarker, was a friend of Grandma Moses who lived in nearby Eagle Bridge, New Yorkmarker. Grandma Moses also appears on the far left edge in the Norman Rockwell painting Christmas Homecoming, which was printed on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post of December 25, 1948.

References

  1. Auction Result: Grandma Moses's Sugaring Off


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