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Displaying items by tag: Grandma Moses

Winslow Homers in the shadow of a defunct Beech-Nut baby food plant. A Rembrandt, Picasso, Rubens and Renoir up the hill from a paper mill. The founder of the Hudson River School vying for attention amid baseball memorabilia and old farm machinery.

There are plenty of treasures to be found among the collections of lesser-known, off-the-beaten-path art museums dotting upstate New York. But they're well worth the trek for anyone looking for great art in unexpected places, whether it's the rolling, bucolic countryside typical of many areas or the industrial grittiness of riverside mill towns.

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The Milwaukee Art Museum is currently hosting ‘Uncommon Folk: Traditions in American Art,’ a comprehensive exhibition that celebrates the power, beauty, whimsy and wonder of American folk art. The show presents nearly 600 works by folk and self-taught artists who created art that was influenced by their communities and cultural traditions, rather than established art movements.

‘Uncommon Folk’ includes American paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, textiles, furniture, and decorative arts by folk art luminaries such as Grandma Moses, Howard Finster and Sister Gertrude Morgan. All of the works on view belong to the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection. The institution began collecting the work of folk and self-taught artists in the early 1950s after receiving two paintings by the Wisconsin-based artist, Anna Louisa Miller. During the 1960s and 1970s, when very few American museums were acquiring folk art, the Milwaukee Art Museum continued to acquire non-academic art through purchases and generous bequests.

Daniel Keegan, the director of the Milwaukee Art Museum, said, “The exhibition highlights the breadth and depth of the Museum’s world-class collection of American folk and self-taught art, from paintings and photographs to walking sticks and quilts. This eclectic grouping of American folk and self-taught art is a demonstration of the Museum’s long history of collecting works by untrained creators.”

‘Uncommon Folk: Traditions in American Art’ will be on view at the Milwaukee Art Museum through May 4, 2014. 

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While sales totaled $3,486,127 million at Sotheby’s American Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture auction on September 28th in New York, 35% of lots went unsold. Sotheby’s did slightly better than Christie’s in the American Art arena, but both sales are a testament to the lackluster performance of mid-season auctions.

“Sotheby’s did put a few more important paintings in the sale,” said Debra Force of Debra Force Fine Art, Inc. “The question is whether the clientele is there to buy it.” It appears that the clientele interested in purchasing Rockwells were at least in attendance. Is He Coming? (1919), a quintessential Norman Rockwell painting of a young boy and his dog peering up the chimney on what appears to be Christmas Eve, brought in $602,500. The final price was $300,000 more than than the paintings high estimate ($200,000–$300,000).

Sotheby’s sale featured more than 200 paintings, drawings, and sculptures and included property from two noteworthy private collections belonging to Margie and Robert E. Petersen and Susan Kahn Rosenkranz and Richard Rosenkranz. Highlights included works by Rockwell Kent, Marsden Harley, Grandma Moses, and Ben Shahn with Kent and Moses taking two of the top five lots. Moses’ On the Banks of the Hudson reached the third highest price of the sale at $92,500 but still brought in considerably less than its high estimate of $120,000. Rockwell Kent’s Adirondack Farm, Summer sold for $86,5000 (estimate: $25,000–$35,000), the fourth highest sale of the auction.

While the highlights of the auction could have made more money in a more important sale, the quality is there. "Maybe more important collectors need to get used to looking at these mid-season sales," says Force. 

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The Bennington Museum is home to the largest public collection of paintings by Anna Mary Robertson Moses (1860-1961). Better known as Grandma Moses, the artist was catapulted to international fame during the 1940s as the result of her charming, naïvely executed, paintings of rural American farm life. To commemorate the 150th year of Grandma Moses’ birth, the Bennington Museum presents Grandma Moses and the ‘Primitive’ Tradition on view June 11 through October 30, 2011. This exhibition, the largest of Moses’ work organized by the museum in over a decade, is to be installed in three of the museum’s eleven galleries.  This temporary exhibition is in addition to the permanent Grandma Moses Exhibit housed in the Grandma Moses Gallery.
As the best known ‘primitive’ artist of the twentieth-century, Grandma Moses and her work are often seen as exceptional, outside the mainstream of American art history. This exhibition provides a context in which to better understand Moses’ work, by examining the history of ‘primitive’ painting in America, from the self-taught and amateur painters of the nineteenth century to the modern ‘primitives’ who came to fame around the same time as Moses.
Grandma Moses and the ‘Primitive’ Tradition features 55 works - 20 by Moses and 35 other artists who painted in the ‘primitive’ tradition. Combined with the paintings in the permanent Grandma Moses Exhibit housed in the Grandma Moses Gallery, there will be 45 works by Grandma Moses on view at the museum. These works are drawn from the Bennington Museum’s world-renowned Grandma Moses Collection, and augmented by strategic loans from other institutions, such as the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York, the Galerie St. Etienne in New York City, and private collections.
Three major themes are explored in the exhibition.
Historic Roots
Growing up in rural, upstate New York, in a family that embraced the arts, Moses was surrounded by the decorative, stylized work of self-taught and amateur artists and “popular” art, such as the prints of Currier and Ives. Moses’ own work springs directly from these popular, centuries-old traditions. In this exhibition, ‘primitive’ paintings from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by anonymous masters and more renowned painters such as Ruth Henshaw Bascom, Joseph H. Hidley, Joseph Pickett, J.O.J. Frost, and Paul A. Seifert are juxtaposed with Moses’ paintings to illustrate the many parallels, both direct and indirect.   Popular printed sources served as inspiration for self-taught artists for centuries, and Moses was no exception. Many of her most popular paintings are based upon Currier and Ives prints and other popular print sources depicting stereotypical New England life.  Serving as an inspiration for Moses, original Currier and Ives prints are shown next to her works.
Modern Primitives
Moses’ work is also examined within the context of the increased interest in ‘primitive’ art that began in America during the 1920s and continued through the 1960s.  Initiated by modern artists and curators of the time, it was largely the result of this phenomenon that guided Moses to achieve such great renown. While her work earned international recognition, many other contemporary self-taught, ‘primitive’ artists such as John Kane, Morris Hirschfield, and Bennington, Vermont native Patsy Santo achieved national recognition during this period.   On view alongside Moses’ work, paintings by these artists and others provide visitors with a better understanding of the context in which her work was originally shown.  Further, it illustrates the variety found within the ambiguously defined category of ‘modern primitive.’
Family Tradition
It was common among folk artists of all periods to share their artistic talents with family members and pass along their gift to younger generations. Anna Mary’s own father, Russell King Robertson, was an amateur painter who encouraged his young daughter, and her brothers, to paint. In her autobiography Moses notes, “He liked to see us draw pictures.” The exhibition includes a landscape painted in the ‘primitive’ tradition by Grandma’s father, which likely hung in the family home when Anna Mary was a child. Many members of the Moses Family took up painting as both a hobby and a vocation after seeing the success Grandma garnered. They all worked in a related ‘primitive’ style.  Works by Fred E. Robertson, Moses’ brother, Forrest King Moses and Winona Robertson Fisher, Grandma’s son and daughter, and Will Moses, Grandma’s great-grandson, are included in the exhibit.

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The works of Grandma Moses are the Bennington Museum’s greatest draw. From June through October, the museum will present its largest Moses exhibition in a decade, with an added context spanning the genre she helped make popular.

"While all of our shows draw interest, Grandma Moses is what people come here to see," curator of collections Jamie Franklin said. "We know who she was -- a little farm lady who became world-famous in the 1940s with her charming, naively executed paintings of rural American farm life. What we want to answer is: How did that happen?"

Franklin said the question will be addressed in commemoration of the 150th year of the birth of Anna Mary Robertson Moses (1860-1961). The exhibition, "Grandma Moses and the Primitive Tradition," will be installed in three of the museum’s 11 galleries. The show will be in addition to the museum’s permanent Grandma Moses exhibit house.

As the best-known primitive artist of the 20th century, Grandma Moses and her work are considered exceptional, outside the mainstream of American art history. This exhibition provides a framework in which to better understand Moses’ work and its reception, by examining the history of primitive painting in America.

"What we’ll do is give the public a chance to see Moses’ work next to that of the self-taught and amateur painters of the 19th century, as well as the modern primitives who came to fame around the same time she did," Franklin said.

As such, "Grandma Moses and the Primitive Tradition" will feature 55 works, 20 by Moses and 35 by other artists who worked in the primitive tradition. They will be drawn from the museum’s permanent Grandma Moses collection, and will be augmented by strategic loans from other institutions, such as the Fenimore Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., the Galerie St. Etienne in New York City and several private collections.

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