Grandma Moses

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Grandma Moses (1953)
Grandma Moses' grave in Maple Grove Cemetery in Hoosick Falls

Grandma Moses (* 7. September 1860 in Greenwich in the US state of New York ; † 13 December 1961 in Hoosick Falls , New York; actually Anna Mary Robertson Moses ) was a painter , illustrator and representative of naive art . Remarkably, she didn't start painting until she was 75.

Maid and wife

At age twelve, she left her parents' farm, Mary Shannahan Robertson and Russell King Robertson. Until her marriage to the farmer Thomas Salmon Moses on November 9, 1887, she worked as a maid. She gave birth to ten children, five of whom died in infancy. When her husband died on January 15, 1927 and the youngest son and his wife took over the farm, Grandma Moses turned to painting. As a child she had already enjoyed painting, but had rarely been able to do so because of the various household chores. Even in her later employment as a maid and during her marriage, she was unable to develop her talent as a painter due to lack of time. Only the decoration of the family living quarters gave her the opportunity to be creative.

As a painter

At the age of 75, when the daily housework became too difficult for her, Grandma Moses started making pictures. First she embroidered wool pictures and used ordinary house paints. She later turned to oil paints and canvas. Encouraged by her children, Grandma Moses displayed some of her paintings in a drugstore in Hoosick Falls. The art collector Louis Caldor, who came to Hoosick Falls in 1938, took some of the pictures with him to New York. After several unsuccessful attempts to interest the art world in these works, he actually wanted to stop his efforts in 1939. But when he happened to find out about a planned small exhibition called "Unknown Contemporary American Painters" at the Museum of Modern Arts , he tried again. Three pictures by Grandma Moses were selected for the exhibition. However, it still took some time for Grandma Moses to gain greater prominence.

The pictures

Grandma Moses' pictures offer the viewer an insight into the simple life in the country in North America at the time. Grandma Moses processed many personal experiences. Around 30 major works can be seen in the Bennington Museum in Vermont .


  • My life story . (English title: My Life's History), 1974, ISBN 3548001653 .


  • 1941: New York State Prize for the painting The Old Oak Well Bucket
  • 1949: Honors Diploma from the Women's National Press Club from Harry Truman
  • 1949: Honorary Doctorate from Russell Sage College , Troy , New York
  • 1951: Honorary Doctorate from the Moore Institute of Art in Philadelphia


  • Otto Kallir : Grandma Moses, your art and your personality , DuMont, Cologne 1975, ISBN 3770111222 .
  • Nancy Tomplins and Tom Biracree: Grandma Moses (Woa) (Women of Achievement) , 1990, ISBN 1555466702 (English).
  • Beth Moses Hickok: Remembering Grandma Moses , 1994, ISBN 1884592015 (English).
  • Adam Schaefer and Adam R. Schaefer: Grandma Moses (Life and Work Of…), 2003, ISBN 140340495X (English).
  • Alexandra Wallner: Grandma Moses , 2004, ISBN 0823415384 (English).

Web links