Image: Grandma Moses, Birthday Cake (1952)
For our Saturday trip to the world of art, we highlight Grandma Moses on her birthday. Anna Mary Robertson Moses was born in 1860, the year of Lincoln’s election.
Early in her life she worked on farms, including for a time in Staunton, Va. She had 10 children (five that survived). When arthritis made it difficult to embroider, she took up serious painting at the age of 78, the year before World War II broke out.
“Moses worked with whatever materials were at hand, used house paint and leftover canvas or fireboard for her first paintings. As a self-taught artist, Moses had little concern for perspective or proportion.
“Although familiar with the hardships and sorrow of farm life, she illustrated happy childhood memories of fields and storms, barn dances, and holidays in rural New York and Virginia. She deliberately omitted telephone poles, tractors, and other elements of the effects of industrialization.
“New York collector Louis J. Caldor chanced upon Moses’s work and helped her begin exhibiting professionally. She gained the nickname “Grandma Moses” from a reviewer at New York’s Herald Tribune. Her paintings became immensely popular and were appreciated for their nostalgic charm.”
She lived to be 101, the first year of the Kennedy Administration. This is picture is one of her versions of a birthday celebration. It seemed appropriate on her birthday.
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