Anna Mary Robertson Moses, known by her nickname Grandma Moses, lived to the age of 101. She was a renowned American folk artist who began painting in earnest at the age of 78. Born on September 7, 1860, she was the third of ten children born to Margaret Shanahan Robertson and Russell King Robertson in Greenwich, New York.
Her father ran a flax mill and was a farmer. For a short period as a child, Moses attended a one-room school with her four sisters and five brothers. That school is now the Bennington Museum in Vermont, which has the largest collection of her works in the United States.
Starting at 12 years of age she was a live-in housekeeper for a wealthy neighboring family. She continued to keep house, cook and sew for wealthy families for 15 years. The Whitesides, one of the families that she worked for, noticed her interest in their Currier and Ives prints and purchased chalk and wax crayons so that she could create her own artwork.
When she was 27, Anna worked on the same farm with Thomas Salmon Moses, a “hired man.” They were married and established themselves near Staunton, Virginia where they spent nearly two decades, living and working in turn on four separate local farms., Always industrious, Anna made potato chips and churned butter from the milk of a cow that she purchased with her savings to supplement the family income. Later, the couple bought a farm near Verona Virginia and named it Mt Airy. They lived there until 1905, when they moved to New York.
It is a painting of this house, Mt Airy, that I am trying to recreate with a photograph as I did with this one. More later…