Anna Mary Robertson 'Grandma' Moses (1860-1961)
Property from a West Coast Collection
Anna Mary Robertson 'Grandma' Moses (1860-1961)


Anna Mary Robertson 'Grandma' Moses (1860-1961)
signed 'Moses.' (lower right)--dated 'July. 6. 1956.' and inscribed with title and number '1725' (on a label affixed to the reverse)
oil on masonite
18 x 18 in. (45.7 x 45.7 cm.)
Painted in 1956.
The artist.
Galerie St. Etienne, New York, acquired from the above.
[With]Hammer Galleries, New York.
Franklyn Moffitt, acquired from the above, 1971.
Private collection, by descent.
[With]Galerie St. Etienne, New York.
Acquired by the late owner from the above, 1996.
"We Break Bread Together," McCall's, November 1956, pp. 52-53, illustrated.
O. Kallir, Grandma Moses, New York, 1973, p. 316, no. 1236, illustrated.
Vienna, Austria, Vienna Künstlerhaus; Paris, France, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Bremen, Germany, Paula-Becker-Moderohn-Haus; Hamburg, Germany, Galerie Commeter; Hameln, Germany, Kunstkreis; Fulda, Germany, Vonderau-Museum; Düsseldorf, Germany, Kunsthalle; Darmstadt, Germany, Kunstverein; Mannheim, Germany, Städtische Kunsthalle; Berlin, Germany, Amerika Haus; Frankfort, Germany, Amerika Haus; Oslo, Norway, Kunstnerforbundet; Stockholm, Sweden, Svenska Handelsbanken; Helsinki, Finland, Galerie Hoerhammer; Gothenberg, Sweden, Svenska Handelsbanken; Copenhagen, Denmark, Louisana Art Museum; Moscow, Russia, The Pushkin Museum, A Life's History in Paintings, 1962-64, no. 16.

Lot Essay

This work, painted on June 30, 1956, was assigned number 1725 by the artist and entered into her record book on page 69.

The copyright for this picture is reserved to Grandma Moses Properties, Co., New York.

The present work served as an illustration for the November 1956 issue of McCall's magazine. Karal Ann Marling writes, "In times of crisis and uncertainty--the 1940s and early 1950s--the Thanksgiving pictures of Anna Mary Robertson Moses carried with them a particular resonance, a pang of heartache and hope that helps to account for her great and sudden appeal to the American eye. In 1956, when she had already become a national monument, McCall's magazine called upon Grandma Moses to paint a special rendition of the Thanksgiving theme for their holiday issue. Titled Thanksgiving, the work is one of her rare interior views, important in this context for emphasizing Thanksgiving as an in-gathering of kin (and occasionally a passing tramp): the old and the young, workers and watchers, cooks and trenchermen, a cat and a dog, all together in an indefinite space defined by an old iron stove, a pie safe, and the framed landscapes on the wall. Significantly, the right foreground is taken up with a big, comfy chair, unoccupied, as if inviting the viewer to come in and join the family circle. 'As I painted this picture,' Grandma Moses wrote, 'my mind traveled back to when I was a child of five years of age, ninety years ago. When Thanksgiving came we were all expected home to dinner. There were many young people like ourselves, and we would have a grand time in playing--sports of all kinds--as were were of different ages, some old and some young.' And so they are in her picture, dashing about, half-mad with the smell of roasted turkey. 'As I painted the stove, I recalled how wood had to be chopped by hand, and to roast our turkey, the wood box had to be kept full of dry wood. Our butter had to be churned by hand.' And so the old lady with her churn. The boy at the door with his pile of wood. The turkey, half out of the oven for basting. The painting depicts a memory so pertinent to American women ninety years later that it commands the cover of a national publication."

"'How times have changed,' she concludes. 'We had no electric stoves, no super markets yet we were happy and on Thanksgiving the entire family would gather and give thanks for what we had. In this modern age we should be more grateful for what we have,' said Grandma Moses. And the readers who saw her lively memory picture in McCall's, in among the ads for new electric ranges and packaged convenience foods, could only agree--and dream along with her of that magical country still alive in their imaginations and in the heart of America's Grandma." (Designs on the Heart: The Homemade Art of Grandma Moses, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2006, pp. 153-55)

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