BEAUTIFUL WORLD
by Grandma Moses
1860-1961





Beautiful World by Grandma Moses

Beautiful World by Grandma Moses


Anna Mary Robertson was the third child born into the Robertson family in 1860. Her parents were farmers raising a brood of ten children. Money was scarce and when Anna was 12 she became a hired girl to help another family. Her schooling was limited. When it was cold in the winter little girls did not attend school very often, but when she was working as a hired girl she was allowed to attend school with her employer's children.

She worked hard all the time she was growing up, then when she was in her 20's she married a man named Thomas Salmon Moses who was also a hired worker. The couple moved to Virginia where they rented farms and worked the land. Ten children were born to them, but five of them died when they were babies. Eventually they returned to New York state and bought a farm.

At this time she was called Mother Moses. She could do many things and enjoyed doing needlework such as sewing and embroidering. With needle and thread she would make pictures on the fabric, but she had arthritis and it hurt her hands to push the needle through the material. When she was in her late seventies she decided to take up painting which was easier on her hands than needlework. Her first painting was made using housepaint.

Her art might be classified as folk art which is self-taught art. A folk artist doesn't go to school to learn how to paint or study with another artist. Grandma Moses fits this category of artists. Sometimes it is called "primitive" art. Many of these artists began painting when they were senior citizens. Grandma Moses was in her 70's before she began to paint seriously. Sometimes she added glitter to snow scenes, contrary to what many considered artistic.

She painted simple pictures, scenes of family, church, and community extolling the virtues of honesty and hard work which made America great. She was an excellent example of these virtues. She painted many pictures of the Hoosick Valley in all seasons. One view of the valley called Hoosick Valley (From the Window) was the view she saw as she looked from her window. (Go to the link and scroll down) White curains frame the scene. She didn't use an easel, but painted at an old kitchen table she had put in a utility room. This was her studio.

Most of her paintings depicted scenes from upstate New York and Vermont. Several paintings show a "checkerboard house". Click on the link and scroll down to see Checkered House . There really was such a house which dated back to the Revolutionary War. It had been painted in a checkerboard pattern.

She painted scenes familiar to the farm life. Her paintings told stories about applebutter making, making soap and maple syrup, husking corn, and making candles.

The Quilting Bee (go the link and scroll down) shows how women would meet and visit while they made quilts. Sometimes they made a "Friendship" quilt where each member contributed a square to the project.

County fairs and joyous times were immortalized in her works. Holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween were some of her favorite subjects. A few of her works illustrate rhymes or stories such as Mary and Little Lamb and Little Boy Blue. (Follow the link and click on the pdf link to see the powerpoint pictures.)

In 1938 she has some pictures displayed in a drugstore window when an art collector from New York happened to see them. The story is told that Anna Mary's daughter-in-law told the man Grandma had ten more paintings she might sell. When she and Anna Mary counted the paintings, there were only nine, so Grandma cut a large picture in half and reframed it into two pictures to make the ten paintings.

The man, Louis Caldor, who was a civil engineer and an art collector really liked her work. He bought several of her paintings. He also helped her by buying some art supplies for her and he used his influence to market her work.

He asked someone to display some of her pictures in a collection called "Contemporary Unknown American Painters". Nothing happened as a result of that showing.

Then he introduced the owner of Galerie Saint Etienne to her works. Otto Kallir arranged a one-woman show for her and exhibited her paintings in his New York City art gallery. The exhibit was called "What a Farm Wife Painted".

Grandma appeared in person at an exhibit at Gimbel's department store. People were charmed by her honesty and simplicity. She was very down-to-earth and unpretentious. She once told a reporter, "If people want to make a fuss over me, I let 'em, but I was the same person before as I am now".

When she was younger Anna made pictures out of yarn. When looking at her textile pictures you can see how they relate to her later efforts with paint. Her textile picture of Mt. Nebo has been made into fabric.

Vintage Fabric ~ Grandma Moses Mt. Nebo

Grandma Moses Mt. Nebo


Niesz Vintage Fabrics

She viewed her art as something she enjoyed doing and it provided some extra money. She couldn't fathom why people paid such high prices for her pictures. By the time she was 80 years old, many people had heard of "Grandma Moses" and had seen her paintings. Paintings which she first sold for about $5 later were sold for $8,000 to $10,000.

She appeared on the Edward R. Murrow television show and showed people how to paint a picture. She enjoyed phenomenal success. She was honored by presidents and governors. Several books have been written about her. A "Grandma Moses Day" was proclaimed in New York. Her picture appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1953.

She painted many pictures during her lifetime. Though she was a religious person she did not do religious paintings. When she was 100 years old she painted illustrations for "Twas the Night Before Christmas". She died at age 101. Her obituary appeared in the New York Times in December 1961.

References:

Ketchum, William C. Grandma Moses, An American Original. New York: Grandma Moses Properties Co., 1996.
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Grandma Moses




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RESEARCH LINKS


Paintings by Grandma Moses

Article about Grandma Moses

More photos

Grandma Moses - Reflections of America
at Galerie St. Etienne

Photograph of Grandma Moses





279130: Getting to Know the World"s Greatest Artists: Grandma Moses Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists: Grandma Moses
By Grolier Publishing Company

A LIBRARY OF
ONLINE BOOKS and BOOK PREVIEWS


Preview these Amazon books using the links below.

Grandma Moses
by W. Nikola-Lisa, Grandma Moses (selected pages)

Grandma Moses
by Alexandra Wallner (selected pages)

Grandma Moses
by Adam G. Klein (selected pages)

Skill Sharpeners Reading, Grade 4: Grandma Moses
by Evan-Moor Educational Publishers (selected pages)





Page Comments

Most Recent Comments   ( See more comments on this page )
2012-04-28
What were the last prices paid for Grandma Moses paintings?
pat patpassmore
2009-10-21
I have an original Grandma Moses and need information as to where I can sell this painting. It is a winter scene. I would like to send you a picture.
Ronnie Akers
2009-10-07
Thank you for fixing the Grandma Moses page.
2009-10-06
i just love her paintings they are so cool..... got to go love always Areli!
2009-09-30
Ii just love this site. Monet's Bio appear on the print this webpage for Grandma Moses. Thank you.
2009-03-10
her life is awsome
maxx

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Famous Artists and Biographies in this Series

Index to Famous Paintings & Art Appreciation for Kids

Index to Biographies of Famous People

Reference citations information for these biographies

Famous Artists

Bierstadt

Boughton

Bruegel

Cassatt

Cavallino

Cezanne

Cranach

Curry
Durer
Van Dyck
Van Eyck
De Flandes
Fragonard
Gainsborough
Gauguin
Van Gogh
Goya
Hicks
Holbein
Homer
de Hooch
Hopper
Huguet
Jakuchu
Leutze
Limbourg
Michelangelo
Millet
Monet
Moses
O'Keeffe
Raphael
Rembrandt
Remington
Renoir
Reynolds
Rivera
Rockwell
Rousseau
Rubens
Seurat
Titian
Valazquez
Vermeer
Da Vinci
Whistler
Wyeth
Yani

Presidents of
the United States
George Washington John Adams Thomas Jefferson James Madison James Monroe Andrew Jackson
  Martin Van Buren Abraham Lincoln Theodore Roosevelt Franklin D. Roosevelt Harry S. Truman Dwight D. Eisenhower
  John F. Kennedy Lyndon B. Johnson Jimmy Carter Ronald Reagan Barack Obama Calvin Coolidge
American Patriots Benjamin Franklin Francis Scott Key Deborah Sampson Molly Pitcher
World Leaders Constantine Alexander the Great Winston Churchill Margaret Thatcher
Inventors Alexander Graham Bell Johann Gutenberg Cyrus McCormick The Wright Brothers Henry Ford Thomas A. Edison
  Sequoyah Nikola Tesla Michael Faraday Dean Kamen Jack Kilby Leonardo Da Vinci
  Donald O'Neal
Explorers Christopher Columbus Meriwether Lewis Robert Peary John Muir Matthew Henson Sir Edmund Hillary
  Kit Carson Johnny Appleseed Daniel Boone
Women who made
a difference
Clara Barton Helen Keller Florence Nightingale Joan of Arc Amelia Earhart Annie Oakley
  Susan B. Anthony Elizabeth Keckly Harriet Tubman Anne Frank Eleanor Roosevelt Madam C.J. Walker
  Sadako Sasaki Henrietta Lacks        
Scientists George Washington Carver Sir Isaac Newton Marie Curie Louis Pasteur Albert Einstein Galileo
  Lise Meitner Norman Borlaug Benjamin Banneker
Educators Noah Webster Booker T. Washington Aristotle Mary McLeod Bethune
Physicians Hippocrates Walter Reed Albert Schweitzer
Religious Leaders George Muller Increase Mather
Athletes Lou Gehrig Wilma Rudolph Tiger Woods Michael Phelps
Civil Rights
Leaders
Martin Luther King Rosa Parks Sojourner Truth Frederick Douglass Mary Ann Shadd Cary James Forten
  Gandhi César Chávez William Wilberforce Nelson Mandela
Composers Beethoven Mozart
Authors Laura Ingalls Wilder Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) Ernest Hemingway Greg Mortenson Phillis Wheatley
Artists John James Audubon Gutzon Borglum Ansel Adams Dale Chihuly Van Gogh Michelangelo
  Rembrandt Grandma Moses Cassatt Renoir Cezanne Rockwell

Art Gallery Famous Paintings Volume 1

Art Gallery Famous Paintings Volume 2

Biographies for Kids - Famous Leaders for Young Readers

A Beautiful World courtesy CGFA

Vintage fabric scene courtesy Niesz Vintage Fabrics

Puzzles on these pages courtesy of
Songs of Praise and Armored Penguin