Painting With The Girls 247
September 3, 2016
Day 247 (119 days to go)
Grandma Moses was born Anna Mary Robertson in Washington, Colorado in 1860.
She was of Irish and Scottish descent, and she was raised on a farm with her brothers and sisters. She got very little schooling because girls at the time mostly worked at home. At age fifteen, she was sent to be a helper girl with a family called Whitesides. Grandma Moses later said those were very happy times in her life. She felt they treated her as their own daughter and she mostly enjoyed all the cooking and household tasks. At age twenty-seven she married Thomas Moses and they move to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, where she had ten children. Five children survived, and in 1905, the family decided to move to the State of New York to better educate their children. They bought a farm and went into the dairy business. Her daughters and sons got married, and 22 years later, her husband Thomas passed away.
It was the early 1930’s when grandma Moses realized she could not sew anymore because of her failing eyesight. Her housework was too strenuous for her. She searched for something to occupy herself and thought about raising chickens. Instead she decided to take up painting, a familiar activity she had tried before but never seemed to have time for. All of her family members agreed right away that she was pretty good at it. They took her work to the local drugstore where the owner had it nicely displayed in the front window.
In 1938, an art collector from New York, Louis Caldor, saw the paintings and decided to go talk to Grandma Moses. He told her that he was interested in folk art and that he thought he could sell her work in New York.
Caldor tied to sell her paintings to collectors and galleries, but no one was interested in investing in an artist who was so old. A year later, he heard about a show for unknown artists that was going to take place at the Modern Art Museum. He went to the organizer; Sidney Janis, and she selected three paintings by Grandma Moses for the show. This first exhibit of her work took place on November 18, 1939, just as she turned 79 years old.