The Fascinating Life and Art of Grandma Moses

Grandma Moses, or Anna Mary Robertson Moses, is one of the most celebrated American folk artists of all time. Born in 1860 and passed away in 1961 at the age of 101, her art continues to inspire and captivate generations of art enthusiasts. In this article, we will explore the life and art of Grandma Moses, including her background, her style, her famous paintings, and where they are now.

Who was Grandma Moses?

Anna Mary Robertson Moses was born on a farm in New York, and she was the third of ten children in her family. She spent most of her early years working on the family farm and taking care of her siblings. She married at the age of 27 to a farmer named Thomas Moses and together they had ten children. They lived together in their farm in Virginia and then New York, where she began painting in her 70s after arthritis made it difficult for her to continue her embroidery and sewing.

When did Grandma Moses start painting?

Grandma Moses did not begin painting until she was in her 70s. She was inspired to begin painting after a friend suggested that she take up a new hobby in the winter months to pass the time. After getting a set of watercolors from her daughter as a Christmas gift, she began creating her unique paintings of rural life in the winter of 1932.

What was Grandma Moses known for?

Grandma Moses was known for her folk art paintings that depicted rural American life. Her paintings were nostalgic and idyllic, showing scenes of farming, family, and nature. She had a unique style that was characterized by bright colors and intricate details that reflected her love of nature and her simple way of life. Her paintings often included animals, landscapes, and everyday rural activities.

See also  The World of Antique Tobacco Tins: Collecting, Understanding, and Dating

How many paintings did Grandma Moses paint?

Grandma Moses painted over 1,500 paintings during her lifetime. Her paintings were widely popular, and she became a cultural icon in the United States at the age of 80. Her paintings were sold for thousands of dollars, making her one of the most successful artists of her time.

What is Grandma Moses famous for?

Grandma Moses is famous for her folk art paintings that depict rural American life. Her paintings capture the simplicity and beauty of life in rural America during the 19th and early 20th centuries. They were celebrated for their vibrant colors, intricate details, and depictions of everyday life.

How old was Grandma Moses when she started painting?

Grandma Moses started painting at the age of 78. She had never been trained in art, nor had she ever shown any interest in it before. She started painting as a way to keep herself busy during the winter months, and she quickly fell in love with the art form.

How old was Grandma Moses when she died?

Grandma Moses passed away in 1961 at the age of 101. She continued to paint until her death, creating over 1,500 paintings during her lifetime.

Where did Grandma Moses live?

Grandma Moses lived on a farm in Virginia and later in New York. The landscapes and simple farm life that she experienced during her childhood and early adulthood became the subject matter for her paintings.

Where did Grandma Moses study?

Grandma Moses did not have any formal training in art. She was a self-taught artist who learned by observation and practice. Her unique style and technique were developed over many years of painting.

See also  Ed Ruscha: The West Coast's Iconic Master of Pop Art

What is Grandma Moses most expensive painting?

Grandma Moses’s most expensive painting is “Sugaring Off”, which sold for $1.2 million in 2006. The painting depicts the process of making maple syrup and is one of her most iconic works.

Where are Grandma Moses paintings now?

Today, many of Grandma Moses’s paintings are housed in museums and private collections around the world. Her paintings can be found at institutions such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, and the Bennington Museum in Vermont.

Grandma Moses’s Unique Style

Grandma Moses’s style was characterized by bright colors, intricate details, and idyllic scenes of rural American life. Her paintings often included animals, landscapes, and everyday rural activities. Her paintings were created using a simple flat style with no shadows or depth, which made her paintings appear like 2D plane designs.

Under layers of colorful paint, Grandma Moses’s paintings held complex compositions. Moses’s narrative abilities were fully evident in the way she combined characters with the rural or urban settings they inhabited. And while Moses primarily depicted animals and plants in ways that adhered to folk art traditions, her imagination was, at times, observably expansive so that we can see landscape oddities that recall the work of European Primitivists like Bruegel.

Her work captured the simple beauty and nostalgia of rural America, and her unique style and technique made her paintings instantly recognizable.


Grandma Moses was a self-taught artist who created some of the most iconic works of American folk art in history. Her paintings are characterized by their bright colors, intricate details, and nostalgic depictions of rural American life. Her art serves as a window into a simpler time and serves as a testament to the power of creativity to transcend age and societal expectations. Grandma Moses lived a long and full life, proving that it’s never too late to start pursuing your passions and following your dreams.

See also  Off the Common Antiques: A Guide to Uncovering Hidden Gems