Grandma Moses

Grandma Moses Sold Her First Painting At Age 79 – And Other Facts

Written by:

Date Post – Updated:

When I started painting, I was worried that I was starting at an age older than most. My mother pointed out that Grandma Moses was old when she began painting.

Grandma Moses started painting at the age of 78 and sold her first paintings at 79. She lived to be 101 years old, and throughout that time, she was a prolific painter that painted over 1500 different paintings. She never had the opportunity to attend art school, so she was a completely self-taught painter.

Table of Contents

Grandma Moses: A Late Bloomer in Art with a Remarkable Journey

Grandma Moses began her painting career at 78 and sold her first piece at 79, an inspiring tale for any late starters. Living until 101, she was incredibly productive, creating over 1500 paintings.

Remarkably, without formal art education, she was entirely self-taught, demonstrating that talent and dedication can triumph over conventional paths in art. Many artists, including myself, are inspired by her and her ability to accomplish so much later in her life. There are so many of us who can resonate with Grandma Moses.

Here are some of our favorite fun facts about Grandma Moses

Grandma Moses Sold Her First Painting At Age 79

Typical Style of Painting by Grandma Moses
Typical Style of Painting by Grandma Moses (Anne Mary Moses)

At age 79, Grandma Moses sent some of her paintings to the Thomas Drugstore in Hoosick Falls, New York. An engineer named Louis J, Caldor noticed them and bought several.

Caldor eventually showed the paintings to Dr. Otto Kallier, the owner of Galerie St, Etienne. He was very impressed with her paintings.

Her First Show Was Titled – What A Farmer’s Wife Painted

Dr. Kallier was so impressed with Grandma Moses’ paintings that he invited her to open her first one-woman show on October 9, 1940.

Grandma Moses Started Painting At Age 78

Grandma Moses started to paint at the age of 78. Before this, she began doing many needlework pictures and quilting. She would portray many colorful scenes from the farm.

But then arthritis started to settle in, making embroidery quite difficult and tricky. A friend of hers suggested that Grandma Moses should try to paint some of the farm scenes instead.

Early In Her Art Career, She Had Limited Art Supplies

Grandma Moses was a self-taught artist living in rural New York. She had no access to high-quality art supplies early in her career. She could not get any small brushes, so she used the back of matches and pins to paint details such as eyes and mouths.

Grandma Moses was very resourceful; she used what she could find around her house to create her art.

Hallmark Reproduced Her Work

The Hallmark Card Company licensed many paintings of Grandma Moses to be printed on their greeting cards. Hallmark sold over 16 million greeting cards featuring her paintings in 1947 alone; this shows the massive popularity that her paintings had during her lifetime and within the United States.

It did not stop in the Hallmark greeting cards; they also had fabric and dinner plates with her paintings printed on them. Someone produced a record called “The Grandma Moses Suite.”

All of this shows the popularity of a woman who spent most of her life working on a farm or as a manual laborer.

Grandma Moses Worked As A Maid At Age 12

Life was not easy for Grandma Moses. She was born on September 7, 1860, in Greenwich, New York. At the age of 12, she went to work as a maid on a neighboring farm, helping a wealthier family with the family chores.

Grandma Moses had to work as she came from a large family with nine brothers and sisters.

At the age of 18, she worked for another family, and they were kind enough to allow her to work for them and go to the local school. She met her husband, Thomas Moses, a laborer at the farm.

In 19887, at the age of 27, Grandma Moses married Thomas Salmon Moses, a fellow farm laborer.

View Post

Grandma Moses And Her Painting Podcast

Listen To Our Podcast About Grandma Moses and Her Paintings below or by clicking here.

Grandma Moses Was Actually A Grandma

Grandma Moses and her husband had ten children; only five of those children lived to adulthood; in the 1940s, her neighbors, friends, and family started to call her Grandma Moses.

Grandma Moses had nine grandchildren and over 30 great-grandchildren; she was widely known as “Grandma Moses.”

Grandma Moses Was 100% Self Taught.

Grandma Moses was a rare artist who was indeed 100% self-taught. She never had the opportunity to attend school, much less any art school. Her family was just too poor, and she had to work on the farm.

This lack of education did not stop her from enjoying art. As a young wife and mother, she used house paint to decorate her house with art scenes. She started the quilt as a form of hobby and art. With her quilting, she would use recycled or previously used materials.

Painting Was Her Childhood Dream

Even though Grandma Moses started to paint much later in life, the reality was that art and painting were something she was interested in from the time of was a young child. Life did not allow her to pursue a career in painting, as she was always working on the family farm.

Grandma Moses talks about how her father would get her and her brothers some white paper sheets to draw pictures and how much she enjoyed drawing.

Grandma Moses Painted Scenes Of Rural Life

Grandma Moses painted rural New England life as it once was. She would omit such things of modern life as a tractor or even telephone poles.

Her style is primitive, but as she became more advanced, she created more complicated real-life compositions.

Grandma Moses Was A Prolific Painter

Grandma Moses was a prolific painter. For the three decades of her life, she was a professional artist who created more than 1,500 canvases of artwork. That means that she was painting about 50 paintings per year or almost a painting every week.

At first, her paintings would sell for 3 to 5 dollars, depending on the size. But as her fame increased, many of her works of art began to sell for $8,000 to $10,000. She had one painting that in 2016 sold for a record U.S. $1.2 million.

I love Grandma Moses because I believe that she teaches us a lot. She shows us that anyone can start painting at any age – it is never too late to begin to paint.

Grandma Moses Stamps in 1969
Grandma Moses Stamps in 1969

Grandma Moses also shows us the power of believing in yourself and your style of artwork. She had a primitive technique that resonated with her audience. She was even featured on Time Magazine and had a U.S. postage stamp printed with her painting during her lifetime.

Great painters and artists like Granda Moses inspire me.

Anita Louise Art is dedicated to art education, great artists, and inspiring others to find and create their art. We love art that uplifts and inspires. #ArtToMakeYouSmile! #ArtToMakeYouHappy!

If you want to see any of my art, you can find out more by clicking here. If you are interested in what inspires me and my paintings, you can discover more by clicking here.

We have a free newsletter and would love you to be part of our community; you can subscribe to the newsletter by clicking here. If you have any questions, I would be happy to talk to you anytime. You can reach me, Anita, by clicking here.

Subscribe to our Anita Louise Art YouTube Channel with great videos and information by clicking here.

Join us for our podcast “5 Minutes With Art.”Spend 5 minutes a week with us to discover and learn about great art and artists. You can find out more about our podcast by clicking here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who was Grandma Moses?

Grandma Moses, born Anna Mary Robertson, was an American folk artist who began painting in her late 70s. She was known for her naïve or primitive style and scenes of rural life.

When did Grandma Moses start painting, and why?

Grandma Moses started painting around the age of 76. She turned to painting because arthritis made it difficult for her to continue with her previous hobby, embroidery.

What are some of the most famous paintings by Grandma Moses?

Some of her most famous works include “Sugaring Off” (1943), “The Old Oaken Bucket” (1946), and “The Quilting Bee” (1950).

Did Grandma Moses have any formal art training?

No, Grandma Moses did not receive any formal art training. Her style is considered ‘naïve’ or ‘folk,’ meaning it was developed outside the established art scene.

How many paintings did Grandma Moses create?

Over her lifetime, Grandma Moses created over 1,000 paintings, an impressive output, especially considering she started painting later in life.

What is the significance of Grandma Moses in the art world?

Grandma Moses is significant as a figure who defied traditional art norms. She began painting later in life and without formal training, yet she achieved great recognition. Her work has played a key role in American folk art.

Where can I see Grandma Moses’s paintings?

Her work is held in many collections, including those of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., and the Bennington Museum in Vermont.

Why is Grandma Moses often seen as an inspiration?

Grandma Moses is seen as an inspiration because of her determination to begin a new creative pursuit later in life. Her story challenges conventional ideas about when a person can start creating and achieving success.

Who Is The Vietnamese-American Artist An-My Lê?

An-My Le is an American – Vietnamese artist known for her landscapes that incorporate cultural history and architecture in unique and exciting ways. She has photographed war reenactments and military training exercises through the lens of the complicated beauty of the landscape itself.

By clicking here, you can learn more by reading Who Is The Vietnamese-American Artist An-My Lê?.

Who Was The American Artist Georgia O’Keeffe?

Georgia O’Keeffe was a dairy farm girl from Wisconsin who became one of America’s iconic female modernism painters. She had to leave college due to her father’s untimely bankruptcy. When she was in school in New York, she met her future husband, the photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz.

Georgia O’Keefe is well known for her many American western subject matters and oversized flowers that she painted. She had a home and studio in the U.S. state of New Mexico. You can visit her home in New Mexico and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

You can discover more by reading Georgia O’Keeffe, The Mother of American Modernism Painting by clicking here.

Anita Louise Hummel
Follow Me

Share Our Blog