American artist Grandma Moses impressed the audience even more than her naive paintings. She first took up the brush at an age when most people did not expect any gifts of fate, and quietly live out their days. Aspiring artist was 76 years old. She was too old to work on the farm, and so entered the history of art. Her birthdays were noted on the cover of “Time” and “Life”, her 100th birthday September 7, 1960 became “Grandma Moses Day” of the New York State, which was announced by the Governor Nelson Rockefeller. President Truman personally invited her to visit the White House. The Eisenhower administration ordered her painting as a gift to the President for the inauguration. In November 2006, her work “Sugaring Off” (1943) was sold at auction for US $1.2 million. Even Andy Warhol couldn’t reach such public attention. Anna Mary Robertson Moses became the most famous American artist of the twentieth century.
Paintings by Anne Marie Moses – rustic pastoral scenes from the life of American farmers deserve a place in the history of art. She was born on the outskirts of New York, in the county of Washington, in 1860 it was a remote village.
Anna Marie considered her childhood happy, although the family was not spoiled with prosperity. The girl managed to get only the most simple education: she learned to read, write, and at age of twelve she went to work for more fortunate neighbors.
Anna Marie married only at 27 years old (at that age woman was considered hopeless old maid). Thomas Salmon Moses was the same wage worker, that is, without a penny to his name. But the couple went on a trip on their honeymoon.
To her native land Moses returned only after eighteen years. In 1905 Moses settled on her own farm near the town of Eagle Bridge. Anna Marie and Thomas had five children at that time (five more died in infancy).
When, in 1927 Thomas Moses died of a heart attack, a family farm chores took up the youngest of his sons. And old Mrs. Moses was suddenly out of business, and she had too much free time. Ad she told later in a TV interview: “I just could not sit in a rocking chair”. Mrs. Moses was engaged in embroidery, but a few years later, arthritis turned needlework into a torture. And then Anna Marie’s daughter suggested her to draw …
In 1938, an engineer and collector Louis J. Caldor came to a provincial town Hoosick Falls, where he came across a picture of Anne Marie, gathering dust on the window of the local pharmacy. Caldor was so fascinated by what he had found, that bought some of her works.
In October 1940 in the “Galerie St. Etienne” was organized the personal exhibition of Anna Mary Moses – “What a Farm Wife Painted”. Then her exhibitions followed one by one. Her paintings were soon reproduced on Christmas cards, tiles and fabrics in America and abroad. In 1952 she published her autobiography “My Life’s History”.
Around her the name critics broke spears, and she lived quietly in her province. Health did not permit her to work on the farm, and the drawing was her job. For a quarter century she created more than 1,600 paintings, drawings and illustrations.
Grandma Moses Quotes:
I look back on my life like a good day’s work, it was done and I am satisfied with it.
Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.
A strange thing is memory, and hope; one looks backward, and the other forward; one is of today, the other of tomorrow. Memory is history recorded in our brain, memory is a painter, it paints pictures of the past and of the day.
If you know something well, you can always paint it but people would be better off buying chickens.
A primitive artist is an amateur whose work sells.
Painting’s not important. The important thing is keeping busy.
If I hadn’t started painting, I would have raised chickens.
I look out the window sometimes to seek the color of the shadows and the different greens in the trees, but when I get ready to paint I just close my eyes and imagine a scene.
I paint from the top down. From the sky, then the mountains, then the hills, then the houses, then the cattle, and then the people.
Never too late. American artist Grandma Moses