The Modern World During and After the World Wars, C. 1914–1960

Modern Art Until C. 1960

Who was Grandma Moses?

Anna May Moses, better known as Grandma Moses (1860–1961), didn’t begin painting until she was in her seventies, when her arthritis was so bad that she could no longer sew. She is an example of a so-called “naïve artist,” or a self-taught artist who has not been academically trained. Grandma Moses lived in rural New York, and first had her art displayed in a local drugstore, where she was discovered by an art collector. Her first solo-show, held in 1940, was called “What a Farm Wife Painted.” Her work, primarily nostalgic landscapes of familiar places such as upstate New York, Vermont, and Virginia, became immensely popular, and has been copied in multiple formats—from greeting cards to wallpaper to postage stamps. Among her collection of over one thousand paintings are The Old Checkered House, Eighteenth April 1949 and Down on the Farm in Winter, 1945, which are filled with small, lively figures and provide a nostalgic view of rural America.

American Gothic (1930), by Grant Wood, serves as a nostalgic snapshot of the American Midwest and was part of a movement known as American Regionalism. (Art © Figge Art Museum, successors to the Estate of Nan Wood Graham /Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.)


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