Бабушка Мозес - Grandma Moses (1861-1961)
"If I didn't start painting, I would have raised
chickens." Grandma Moses.
Anna Mary Robertson Moses didn't become the famous
primitive painter Grandma Moses until she was seventy-seven. She
didn't even take up painting until she was seventy five, and then
it was only because her arthritis hurt her too badly to do needlework
Anna Robertson was born on September 7, 1860 in
upstate New York. She didn't marry until she was twenty seven, but
still bore ten children. Only five of those lived to adulthood.
When her husband was alive they lived in Virginia, but after his
death in 1927 she moved back to New York. People who knew her say
she was feisty and strong willed. A necessary trait, no doubt, in
the Depression years.
Her work was discovered by a collector during the
Depression. She was trying to barter some paintings at the Women's
Exchange. Thanks to that collector, Louis Calder, she would make
some money. In 1939 she had three pieces shown in the Museum of
Modern in New York City. A year later she had her first solo exhibit
at the Gallerie St. Etienne in New York.
Moses's work was called American Primitive in the
art world, but she said that primitive is what they call amateur
art that sells. She painted her scenes on pieces of old wood she
painted white. Her paintings are simple in texture, but complex
in content. She depicted happy scenes from real life, much as she
might have stitched them on canvas before her arthritis took to
hurting her hands too much. Her painting style belied her history
of stitching on fabric. She said she painted from the sky down.
Sky first, then the mountains, then the land, then the people. Her
people were shown doing anything she might have seen someone do
in her long, active life, and were rich in color.
Between the start of her painting career at age
seventy-five and her death at age one hundred and one in 1961, Grandma
Moses painted approximately sixteen hundred paintings. Some two
hundred and fifty of those were painted after her hundredth birthday!
Some say her family never took her paintings seriously, but the
art world certainly did.