Friday, 7 September 2012

Anna Mary Robertson Moses and Country Fair

'Country Fair' (1950) by Anna Mary Robertson Moses; Private Collection?

For today I chose a remarkable American female painter, unknown to me, but very well-known in her home country. She is Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses, born on 7 September 1860. She made her first painting when she was 76 years old. When she died at the age of 101, she had made around 1500 paintings in three decades. Without any formal education, she started painting when she couldn't hold an embroidery needle anymore due to arthritis. A paintbrush was easier to hold. Her paintings are portrayals of homely farm life. Having worked as a hired help herself, she painted from memory and experience. She also painted wintery scenes of ice-skating in the tradition of Dutch and Flemish genre painting. I just read about her life and she must have been a great woman. Lively, witty and sharp-tongued, she remained observant even in her last years. Her joy of painting and her vision of the world is reflected in her work. Until her 101st and last birthday, she still managed to do a little painting almost every day. Credit is due to the art collector, Louis Caldor, who saw her art work in a drugstore and bought all of her paintings as well as the ones that she had finished at home. He recognised her talent, and the next year three of her paintings were included in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I want to show you a photo of this remarkable woman, click here. Don't you think she really looks like the world's favourite granny? I really like her paintings. They remind me of the work of Chagall. I also read somewhere that she painted from the top down. First the sky, then the mountains and the trees, then the houses and the cattle, and the people came last. I love her simple reality and the vibrant colours. Very uplifting art.

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