Most people know Grandma Moses as the artist and homespun folk hero catapulted to international fame during the 1940s upon the discovery of her charming, naïvely executed paintings of rural American farm life.
But an exhibit, Grandma Moses: American Modern, at the Bennington Museum in Bennington, Vt., until Nov. 5, sheds new light on the artistic impact of Grandma Moses, re-establishing her place in the mid-century art world that was embracing modern art at the same time.
Born Anna Mary Robertson Moses in 1860, Grandma Moses didn’t begin painting until the age of 78. Her name is not often associated with modernism, yet she was a highly skilled artist who used collage and popular imagery, unconsciously paralleling the techniques of cubism, surrealism and pop art.
Grandma Moses: American Modern explores the connection between folk art and contemporary art, putting the artist’s paintings side by side with iconic modernists like Joseph Cornell, Helen Frankenthaler, Fernand Léger and Andy Warhol, who also drew on found images, color, collage and intuition to create their masterpieces.
Bennington Museum is open daily until Oct. 30 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). In November, the museum is open Thursday through Tuesday (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and students over 18. Admission is free for younger students and museum members. Visit benningtonmuseum.org or call (802) 447-1571 for more information.