Anna Mary Robertson Moses (September 7, 1860 – December 13, 1961), known by her nickname Grandma Moses, was an American folk artist. She began painting in earnest at the age of 78 and is often cited as an example of an individual who successfully began a career in the arts at an advanced age. Her works have been shown and sold in the United States and abroad and have been marketed on greeting cards and other merchandise. Moses’ paintings are displayed in the collections of many museums. The Sugaring Off was sold for US $1.2 million in 2006.
Moses appeared on magazine covers, television, and in a documentary of her life. She wrote an autobiography (My Life’s History), won numerous awards, and was awarded two honorary doctoral degrees.
The New York Times said of her: “The simple realism, nostalgic atmosphere and luminous color with which Grandma Moses portrayed simple farm life and rural countryside won her a wide following. She was able to capture the excitement of winter’s first snow, Thanksgiving preparations and the new, young green of oncoming spring… In person, Grandma Moses charmed wherever she went. A tiny, lively woman with mischievous gray eyes and a quick wit, she could be sharp-tongued with a sycophant and stern with an errant grandchild.”
She was a live-in housekeeper for a total of 15 years, starting at 12 years of age. One of her employers noticed her appreciation for their prints made by Currier and Ives, and they supplied her with art materials to create drawings. Moses and her husband began their married life in Virginia, where they worked on farms. In 1905, they returned to the Northeastern United States and settled in Eagle Bridge, New York . The couple had ten children, five of whom survived infancy. She expressed an interest in art throughout her life, including embroidery of pictures with yarn, until arthritis made this pursuit too painful.
The Galerie St. Etienne will feature work by Grandma Moses (1860-1961), and Leonard Baskin (1922-2000) at the Winter Antiques Show, January 19 – 28, 2018 at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. The unlikely pairing focuses on two of America’s most popular postwar artists, each of whom transcended the art world by supplementing their fine art with popular illustrations and artist books.
The exhibition is part two of the pairing, which debuted at the Winter Antiques Show in 2017. Last January, the Baskin work featured woodcuts
and woodcarvings, this year the emphasis will be on three bronzes and unique works on paper. The 16 paintings by Anna Mary Robertson (“Grandma”) Moses will focus on her snow scenes, a subject increasingly in demand.
Moses and Baskin spoke to the verities of the human condition, transcending the boundaries of the art establishment to touch the hearts of the American public.
Moses, a self-taught farmwoman from upstate New York, depicted reassuring images of rural life. Baskin, the classically educated son of an orthodox Jewish rabbi, directly engaged the anxieties of the Cold War era.