Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses
(1860–1961)The Church in the Hills
oil on board
19.75 × 25.25 inches
signed lower right
Artist label with title and date
Label, James Vigeveno Galleries, Los Angeles, California
Label, Owen Gallery, New York, New York
Grandma Moses was an American folk painter who was internationally popular for her naïve documentation of rural life in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She represented scenes through the flat patterns of cross-stitching and used bright color schemes. Similar in style to other self-taught American painters, including Edward Hicks and Horace Pippin, the nostalgic character of Moses’ work reflects her life on farms in rural New York and Virginia.
“A strange thing is memory, and hope; one looks backward, and the other forward; one is of today, the other of tomorrow,” she reflected. “Memory is history recorded in our brain, memory is a painter, it paints pictures of the past and of the day.”
Born Anna Mary Robertson on September 7, 1860 in Greenwich, New York, she didn’t take up painting until her late 70s, when arthritis made embroidering difficult. In 1939, famed art collector Louis Caldor stumbled across Moses’ work in a drugstore window while traveling upstate through Hoosick Falls, New York. After inquiring as to who made them, he drove to her farm and purchased 15 of her paintings on the spot. Later that same year, three of the works from Caldor’s initial purchase were included in the Contemporary Unknown American Painters
exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This led to over 100 shows for Grandma Moses in the proceeding decades.
The artist produced around 2,000 paintings before her death at age 101 on December 13, 1961, in Hoosick Falls, New York. Today, her works are included in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Bennington Museum in Vermont.
Owen Gallery, New York, New York, 2006
John and Toni Bloomberg, La Jolla, CaliforniaView more information
Surface condition is excellent. No signs of restoration.