​Almanac: Grandma Moses

Almanac: Grandma Moses 02:12

And now a page from our "Sunday Morning" Almanac: December 13th, 1961, 54 years ago today ... the day the painter Anna Mary Robertson Moses, known as "Grandma Moses," died at the age of 101.

Born in 1860, she had no formal training in art. Instead, she lived much of her life on a small farm in Eagle Bridge, N.Y.

She took up painting in her late 70s, to keep herself busy once arthritis had made it too difficult to sew.

A chance discovery by a traveling collector led to her first one-woman show in New York City in 1940.

Hailed as one of the greatest of American folk artists, Grandma Moses drew on her own long-ago experiences:

"I've been inclined to paint old scenes ... I suppose because I'm old," she told CBS News correspondent Edward R. Murrow in 1955, when she was an active 95 years old.

Murrow: "What sort of advice would to give to those people if they had time to try their hand at painting?"
Moses: "Well, anybody can paint that wants to paint."
Murrow: "Can they?"
Moses: "Oh sure. Anybody can paint."

But Grandma Moses advised would-be artists to follow her lead and avoid taking lessons: "If they have a teacher, they will soon paint as their teacher paints, and it's best for them to use their own ideas."

Personal though her paintings were, she claimed to have no deep attachment to them:

Murrow: "Do you hate to see a painting sold after you've made it and liked it and looked at it?"
Moses: "Oh, no, I'd rather have the money."

Grandma Moses left her admirers plenty of paintings to like and look at ... more than 1,600 in all.

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