Information On Grandma Moses, American Folk Artist

Information on Grandma Moses (Anna Roberts), American folk artist sold her first paintings when she was almost eighty.

Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma Moses) was born on September 7, 1860 in Greenwich New York. She spent most of her life as a farmer's wife and raising her five children. She didn't become serious about painting until she was in her mid seventies.

Up until that time, she enjoyed embroidery work with colorful scenes on canvas but when her hands became stiff with arthritis, she switched to painting. Her first picture was painted on a piece of canvas with house paint.

In 1938 when she was almost eighty, Louis J. Caldor, an art collector noticed her work in a drugstore window and bought her first paintings. In 1939, Otto Kallir, art dealer first exhibited her scenes of rural life at his Gallerie Saint-Etienne in New York City. Her one-woman show brought national recognition.

Gimbel's Department Store invited Grandma to New York to see a display of her painting at a Thanksgiving festival. Here she met many people who were fascinated by her paintings and by 1941 she received New York state prize for one of her paintings, "The Old Oaken Bucket." In 1949, President Harry S. Truman presented her with the Women's National Press Club Award for outstanding accomplishment in art.

In 1955, the news reporter Edward R. Murrow invited her on his TV show, See It Now. People watched the TV screen as Grandma painted a picture from her house. She sat at an old table and painted on masonite, a thin hard board. "I like to paint old-timey things," she said.

Her work is called primitive art, a simple and clear style and her theme was American rural life. Many primitive artists have not had formal training yet seem to paint in a natural way. Grandma drew from her memory and captured activities such as capturing the Thanksgiving turkey, Halloween night on the farm and having a family reunion picnic.

At age 100, she illustrated an edition of The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore and the book was published after her death. Grandma Moses died on December 13, 1961. She lived to be 101 and in the last year of her life painted twenty-five pictures.

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