Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses
by Jantje Blokhuis-Mulder
A primitive artist is an amateur whose work sells.
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)
- Grandma Moses-Style Painting Pattern #1
- Grandma Moses-Style Painting Pattern #2
- Grandma Moses-Style Painting Pattern #3
Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma Moses)
Type of Work:
1860 (New York State)
Best Known For:
Images of simple farm life.
Sugaring Off, 1943
Catchin’ the Turkey, 1955