Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses

Grandma Moses - Bennington Museum

Grandma Moses photo: Bennington Museum

by Jantje Blokhuis-Mulder

A primitive artist is an amateur whose work sells.
-Grandma Moses

We are all aware of the amazing story of Grandma Moses.

Not many of us can lay claim to 101 years on this earth, let alone the creation of 1600 pieces of artwork.

Born Anna Mary Robertson on September 7, 1860, she lived 101 years and 3 months until December 13, 1961.

A remarkable lady, a mother of ten who started painting in earnest in her late 70’s and continued until the summer of 1961, Grandma Moses had a desire to make her surroundings pleasing to the eye.

She produced 85 ceramic tiles one year, some with simple designs, some with little paintings. She painted on tree mushrooms. These mushrooms when dry turned hard as wood and made a refreshing canvas for smaller paintings.

In March of 1960, at age 99, she accepted a request from Random House to illustrate Clement C. Moore‘s famous poem “The Night Before Christmas” and completed the last illustration in November of 1960, after her 100th birthday.

I know of no one else who painted 25 pictures beyond their 100th birthday, except Grandma Moses.

Grandma Moses describes her life best with the following words, from “My Life’s History”, a book published in 1952.

“I have written my life in small sketches, a little today, a little yesterday, as I thought of it, as I remembered all the things from childhood on through the years, good ones and unpleasant ones. That’s how they come, and that is how we have to take them. I look back on my life like a good day’s work, it was done and I feel satisfied with it. I was happy and contented, I knew nothing better and made the best out of what life offered and life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.”

Grandma Moses Coloring Sheets

(drawn by Geoff Slater)


Catchin the Turkey, 1955 Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses (1860-1961) Oil on pressed board Copyright © 2016, Grandma Moses Properties Co., New York

Catchin’ the Turkey, 1955 Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses (1860-1961) Oil on pressed board Copyright © 2016, Grandma Moses Properties Co., New York

Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma Moses)

Type of Work:
Painting

Born:
1860 (New York State)

Died:
1961

Nationality:
American

Style/Movement:
Folk Art

Best Known For:
Images of simple farm life.

Important Works:

Sugaring Off, 1943

Catchin’ the Turkey, 1955

Resources:

Grandma Moses Schoolhouse – Bennington Museum

Grandma Moses: American Modern – Bennington Museum

Grandma Moses Collection – Bennington Museum