A prolific painter, Anna Mary Robertson Moses was one of America's best-known primitive painters. Inspired by her childhood memories, she depicted the rural life, portraying homely farm life and countryside through simple realism, nostalgic atmosphere and luminous color. This exceptional quality, of bringing life to the paintings on canvas, won her a wide fan following of art lovers. The young Anna Mary loved to draw happy, colorful scenes that were inspired from daily life. Due to the lack of warm clothes and uniforms for winters, she only attended school in the summer. Her family and friends called her either "Mother Moses" or "Grandma Moses", and although she first exhibited as "Mrs. Moses", the press eagerly dubbed her "Grandma Moses". Though she began her career at an advanced age, Grandma Moses gained great recognition and fame in the field of art. Grandma Moses' paintings were used to publicize numerous American holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and Mother's Day.
Life & Profile Of Grandma Moses
Born on September 7, 1860, in Greenwich, New York, Anna Mary Robertson was the third child, out of ten, of Russell King Robertson and Margaret Shannahan. Born in a farmer's family, she spent most of her time in the family farms, working hard. Anna experienced a happy childhood. In 1887, Anna tied the nuptial knot with Thomas S. Moses, a farm worker. They had 10 children, out of which only five survived. Anna made her first painting in New York. While wallpapering her parlor, Anna ran short of paper. To fill in the gap Anna painted a scene on a white paper and hung it in the area. The painting still hangs in the Bennington Museum in Bennington, Vermont. When she turned 76, she was struck by arthritis. It was during this time that Anna went back to something which she loved doing as a kid - painting. She started off by imitating scenes that she found illustrated in books and on Currier and Ives prints
The first public display of Grandma Moses paintings was in the 'Contemporary Unknown Painters' show, at New York's Museum of Modern Art. Her style was very simple and ordinary - a reflection of the country scenes and nature that brought a revival in the minds of people. The colors used in the painting also reflected their own story - white depicted winters, dark green stood for summers, lighter shades of green signified spring and brown represented autumn.Another very strong characteristic of her paintings was the depiction of joy, happiness and pleasure everywhere. None of her paintings ever had even the slightest glimpse of despair, unhappiness or aging. Among her most popular paintings are The Old Oaken Bucket, Over the River to Grandma's House, Sugaring Off, and Catching the Turkey.
Grandma Moses's painting 'The Old Checkered Inn' featured in the background of a national advertising campaign, for the young women's lip gloss Primitive Red, by Du Barry cosmetics, in 1946. She was awarded Women's National Press Club trophy Award, for her outstanding accomplishment in art, in 1949. Grandma Moses was also seen in a TV show, 'See It Now'. Her autobiography titled 'Grandma Moses: My Life's History' was published in the year 1952. On the 100th birthday of Moses, New York Governor, Nelson Rockefeller proclaimed the day as 'Grandma Moses Day', to honor the artistically gifted and talented woman. In 2006, years after her death, her work 'Sugaring Off' became her highest selling work, selling for US$1.2 million. 'Fourth of July', which she painted in honor of President Eisenhower, still hangs in the White House.
Grandma Moses died on December 13, 1961, at the age of 101. After a fall at her home, she was admitted to the Hoosick Falls Health Center. The doctors described "hardening of the arteries" as the reason for her death.
Grandma Moses always painted from her experience, portraying her childhood memories on the canvas. Her reminiscence of the former days was the only inspiration for Grandma Moses, which can be clearly seen in her pictures, which show people actively engaged in farm tasks. This beloved grandma was a true artist in the truest sense.
Here is a brief biography and history of Grandma Moses. Read information about life of Grandma Moses.