Saturday, September 7, 2013

September 7 - Grandma Moses

Folk painter Grandma Moses was born Anna Mary Robertson on September 7, 1860, near Glens Falls in Upstate New York. She was one of 10 children. For two decades starting in 1887 she and her husband farmed in Virginia, then ran a farm in Eagle Bridge, NY, near her birthplace. Her earliest work was embroidery, done as a hobby. In her 70’s, arthritis made needlework painful, so at her sister’s suggestion she took up painting. Her individualistic folk style, heedless of perspective and depicting everyday scenes, evolved from early works that were more realistic and “primitive” in nature. She sold paintings locally ($2 for small, $5 for large) until fame courted her in the form of an art collector, Louis Caldor, who bought her paintings on display in a pharmacy window. Gallery shows in New York in 1940 rocketed her to fame at age 80. She painted more than 1,600 pictures, many reproduced in ads and other commercial media – all popular for reflecting traditional American values. Pictured: “Sugaring Off” (1943), a version of which sold for $1.36 million in 2006.

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