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It’s Never Too Late For Talent to Bloom

Grandma Moses, whose paintings hang in nine museums in the United States and in Vienna and Paris, turned out her first picture when she was 76 years old.

Here is an excerpt from her obituary that ran in The New York Times on December 14, 1961:

“Grandma Moses had had a hard life most of her many years, but neither her fame nor her advanced years cut into her formidable production. During her lifetime she painted more than 1,000 pictures, twenty-five of them after she had passed her 100th birthday. Her oils have increased in value from those early $3 and $5 works to $8,000 or $10,000 for a large picture.

“She took up painting because arthritis had crippled her hands so that she no longer could embroider. She could not hold a needle, but she could hold a brush, and she had been too busy all her life to bear the thought of being idle.

“Happy color, action and humor enlivened her portrayals of such simple farm activities as maple sugaring, soap-making, candle-making, haying, berrying and the making of apple butter.

“In person, Grandma Moses charmed wherever she went. A tiny, lively woman with mischievous gray eyes and a quick wit, she could be sharp-tongued with a sycophant and stern with an errant grandchild.

“Cheerful, as a cricket, even in her last years, she continued to be keenly observant of all that went on around her. Until her last birthday, Sept. 7, she rarely failed to do a little painting every day.

“President Kennedy paid the following tribute today to Grandma Moses: ‘The death of Grandma Moses removed a beloved figure from American life. The directness and vividness of her paintings restored a primitive freshness to our perception of the American scene. Both her work and her life helped our nation renew its pioneer heritage and recall its roots in the countryside and on the frontier. All Americans mourn her loss.'”