Grandma Moses Day on September 7 each year celebrates the talented artist Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses. Born on the same day in 1860, the observance pays homage to an artist who remains an inspiration to people starting careers late in life. Despite her advanced age, she defied the odds and set out to become one of the most celebrated artists of her time.
History of Grandma Moses Day
Anna Mary Robertson became Anna Mary Robertson Moses in 1887 when she wedded Thomas Moses. She tried her hand at painting in her 50s, but only kicked into gear when she was in her 70s. She moved over to painting when arthritis robbed her of the ability to handle her embroidery needles.
In 1960, Nelson Rockefeller — then New York Governor, declared September 7 as the official Grandma Moses Day as she reached the 100-year mark.
Grandma Moses was a self-taught artist, depicting images from her upbringing; peaceful scenes of farmsteads and rural life. Her painting style was primitive as a result. Grandma Moses’ works depicting country life were quite popular. She began selling them at a local drugstore for about $10.
It wasn’t until 1938, that art collector Louis Caldor, would happen upon the drugstore and buy all her paintings. Caldor was able to include Grandma Moses in a folk art show at the Museum of Modern Art, thereby launching her career. Her paintings were displayed in New York the following year and began selling across Europe and North America.
Moses soon gained a large following across the globe. Sometime in the 1950s, her exhibitions shattered worldwide attendance records. She went on to feature on the front cover of LIFE magazine in 1960 when she clocked 100.
Grandma Moses had her paintings adopted on Christmas cards in 1946, bringing her works to a larger audience. She would go on to create thousands of paintings before her death in 1961 at the age of 101. Today we celebrate the life of an icon and how she has inspired generations to reach for the stars even regardless of their age.
Grandma Moses Day timeline
Anna Mary Robertson is born in New York to Russell King Robertson and Margaret Shanahan Robertson.
Moses turns 100-years-old and features on the front cover of “LIFE”’s September 16 issue.
Nelson Rockefeller names September 7 National Grandma Moses Day.
Moses’ painting “Sugaring Off” becomes her highest-selling piece, going for about $1.2 million.
Grandma Moses Day FAQs
How much do Grandma Moses’ paintings cost?
Put up for auction several times, Grandma Moses’ paintings have been sold for prices between $10 to over $1.2 million.
Where is Grandma Moses’ Museum?
Bennington Museum acts as a gallery for art exhibitions and houses the largest collection of Grandma Moses’ works.
How old was Grandma Moses when she started painting?
Moses was 77 years old when she started her journey in the world of art.
How to Celebrate Grandma Moses Day
Search for her work online
View the works of Grandma Moses online. See for yourself why millions love this talented artist.
Visit the museum
Visit the Bennington Museum in Vermont for a more immersive experience of Grandma Moses’ works. You could also visit New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Take up a new hobby
Take a page out of Grandma Moses’ book and learn something new. It doesn’t even have to be painting - though that would be nice.
5 Fun Facts About Grandma Moses That Will Blow Your Mind
Friends in high places
A painting by Grandma Moses titled “Fourth of July” hangs in the White House today.
Moses schooled in Vermont and the school has since been converted into a museum hosting the largest collection of her works.
In 1953, at the age of 93, Grandma Moses was featured on the cover of TIME’s December 28 issue.
As a self-taught painter Grandma Moses couldn’t get quality materials during her early years, so she used pins and matches, in lieu of small brushes, to add details like mouths and eyes.
Moses was known to sprinkle glitter on the snow in her winter landscape pieces.
Why We Love Grandma Moses Day
She was an inspiration
Grandma Moses showed us all that it’s never too late to use your talent. She is the perfect example that you can still excel late in life. Never give up!
We love the arts
Art is arguably one of the most influential creative outlets out there. We love the access art gives us as a medium to express our emotions.
We get to find a new hobby
One of the best things to do on this holiday is to start a new hobby. Who knows? You could be a chess grandmaster under that unassuming drag.
Grandma Moses Day dates