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Grandma Moses

Margot Cleary

Grandma Moses - Margot Cleary
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The last thing young Anna Mary Robertson ever thought she would become was an artist. Bom on a farm in the hills of upstate New York just two months before Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States, she was raised as a farm girl, was expected to marry a farmer and never doubted that she would end her days as a simple farm woman. And that is exactly what happened, except that along the way she became an artist as well, and when she died in 1961 at the age of 101, there could have been few Americans who cared anything for art who did not know her name—or at least her famous sobriquet, “Grandma Moses.”

The story of how Grandma Moses took up painting as a recreation when she was in her 70’s, of how she was “discovered” when she was in her 80’s and of how, by the time she was 90, she had become an intemational celebrity is no more astonishing than the fact that this meteoric rise to fame and fortune had almost no effect on either her character or her way of life. She remained a simple - and most endearing - farm woman to the day of her death. Yet it may be that, during her lifetime, Grandma Moses’ extraordinary story and engaging personality had the effect of distracting people’s attention somewhat from the real merit of her work. Indeed, that may in some degree account for the current revival of interest in her work, for today we are perhaps able to appreciate more clearly than before the speer brilliance of her sense of color and pattern, the psychological power of her “naive” use of perspective, the undiluted sweetness and sincerity of her message. These, certainly, are virtues that will be immediately apparent to all who open the pages of this handsome book.


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