NATIONAL GRANDMA MOSES DAY
Happy Birthday to Anna Mary Robertson Moses, aka Grandma Moses, who was born on September 7, 1860. Each year on September 7, people across America join in the celebration of the anniversary of her birth on National Grandma Moses Day.
Anna Mary Robertson Moses (September 7, 1860 – December 13, 1961) is an example to us all of an individual who successfully began a career in the arts at an advanced age. A renowned American folk artist, Grandma Moses first started painting in her 70s after arthritis made it difficult to embroider, her original medium. Known most of her life as either “Mother Moses” or “Grandma Moses”, she was discovered when Louis J. Caldor saw her work in a drugstore window in Hoosick Falls, New York. An amateur art collector, Caldor convinced the Museum of Modern Art to include Moses in a folk art show for members-only. Caldor’s discovery and MOMA opportunity eventually lead to a one-woman show. While Moses displayed her work under the name Mrs. Moses, the press eagerly dubbed her “Grandma Moses” and the name stuck.
As part of her 100th birthday celebration, LIFE magazine featured Grandma Moses September 16, 1960, cover.
Many of Grandma Moses’ paintings were used to publicize American holidays, some of which included Thanksgiving, Christmas and Mother’s Day. In a Mother’s Day feature in a 1947 True Confessions, it was noted how “Grandma Moses remains prouder of her preserves than of her paintings and proudest of all of her four children, eleven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.”
Grandma Moses’ exhibitions were so popular during the 1950s that they broke attendance records all over the world.
“A cultural icon, the spry, productive nonagenarian was continually cited as an inspiration for housewives, widows, and retirees. Her images of America’s rural past were transferred to curtains, dresses, cookie jars, and dinnerware, and used to pitch cigarettes, cameras, lipstick and instant coffee.”
- 1950 – Cited as one of the five most newsworthy women.
- 1951 – Honored as Woman of the Year by the National Association of House Dress Manufacturers.
- Age 88 – Mademoiselle Magazine named her “Young Woman of the Year.”
- Awarded the first honorary doctorate from Philadelphia’s Moore College of Art.
- 1969 – A United States commemorative stamp was issued in her honor.
- 2006 – Her work Sugaring Off (1943) became her highest selling work at US $1.2 million. Sugaring Off was a prime example of the simple rural scenes for which she was well-known.
- Grandma Moses’ painting, Fourth of July, was given, by Otto Kallir, to the White House where it still hangs today.
HOW TO OBSERVE
To celebrate National Grandma Moses Day, enjoy looking up and admiring her beautiful artwork. Use #GrandmaMosesDay to post on social media.
New York Governor, Nelson Rockefeller, proclaimed September 7 as Grandma Moses Day in 1960 in honor of Grandma Moses’s 100th birthday.
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