Anna Mary Robertson Moses (1860-1961) created a landscape of the imagination for the modern era while stirring feelings of nostalgia for decades past. Popularly called “Grandma Moses,” she was often marginalized by critics as a “folk” painter or a phenomenon marketed toward popular consumer culture. By the 1950s—and when Moses was in her 90’s—she achieved a dominant position in American visual culture as an artist who effectively responded to the hopes and challenges of her day. Her iconic paintings capture a return to simpler lifestyles, depicting picturesque landscapes of quaint villages and lively townspeople, which echoed the popular sentiment of the mid-20th century and, in many respects, today.
The myth of Moses, as an artist trapped in amber from an earlier time and in opposition to her midcentury artist contemporaries, since has been dismissed. One such project that revealed Moses as a truly modern artist, with motivations and influences as complicated as any of her peers, was the past exhibition and associated catalogue Grandma Moses: American Modern (2016-2017). These two notable projects were organized and presented by Bennington Museum and Shelburne Museum—two institutions that hold special ties with the artist. Painting at Home with Grandma Moses marks a return to our institutions’ collaboration and celebration of Moses and her work. This online exhibition highlights the artist’s methodical artistic process and varying sources of inspiration that reveal Moses as a complex, thoughtful, and thoroughly modern artist.
Painting at Home with Grandma Moses is collaborative project by Shelburne Museum and Bennington Museum in partnership with Grandma Moses Properties Co., New York.
Generous support for this exhibition is provided by The Donna and Marvin Schwartz Foundation and the Barnstormers at Shelburne Museum.