Your Grandma’s Artist

You’re never too old to set a new goal or dream. An example of this can be found in the life and work of Grandma Moses. She started her art career at the age of 78.

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ABOVE: Granda Moses, 1969 postage stamp based on her painting ‘The Fourth of July’

Born in Greenwich, New York on September 7, 1860; Grandma Moses (then known as Anna Mary Robertson), was raised alongside nine brothers and sisters, and left home at the age of 12 to work for a wealthy neighboring family. At 27, she met and married, and shortly thereafter, began having children of her own.

Over the years, she and her husband continued to work for the wealthy, until they were finally able to purchase a farm of their own. After losing him to a heart attack in 1927, she continued working until 1936, then retired and moved in with one of her daughters.

While she had been creative all her life, and she often made embroidered pictures for friends and family, it wasn’t until she was 78 that she began painting. Her folksy, rural themed artworks, quickly gained attention, and in 1940, she had her first solo exhibition titled “What a Farm Wife Painted.” It was around this time that the press dubbed her Grandma Moses.

In her time as a professional artist, Grandma Moses was awarded two honorary degrees, and was presented with an award for outstanding accomplishment in art by President Harry S. Truman. In 1951, the National Press Club named her one of the year’s five most newsworthy women.

Grandma Moses passed way in 1961 at the age of 101. Her works can be found in numerous collections around the world, among them, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC. Her painting ‘Fourth of July’ is part of the White House art collection.

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