Discover your heritage: Grandma Moses Exhibition comes to Reynolda House Museum of American Art

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Reynolda House Museum of American Art will host the exhibition, “Grandma Moses: Grandmother to the Nation,” from January 27 through April 22. Organized by the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York, the exhibition includes approximately 30 paintings as well as a selection of artifacts, including the artist’s rocking chair, apron, doll, and paint supplies.

Reynolda House will host an opening party for the Grandma Moses exhibition at 7 p.m. this Friday, Jan.26. The event will be open to the public with refreshments, live music, and a cash bar. In addition, the main floor of the historic house will be open to visitors. Admission is $5; for information, please call 336-758-5150 or visit the website at

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Anna Mary Robertson Moses (1860-1961), known to the nation as Grandma Moses, remains one of the most recognized and beloved American painters. Although she did not paint until 1927, at age 67, within years she had accumulated accolades and achieved fame. The exhibition is organized in thematic sections that correlate to her painting as America made the transition from the Great Depression and World War II through the cold war years and relative economic prosperity.

Her images of rural life provided soothing respite from otherwise turbulent times, and 50 years later her vision of the simple life still resonates.

“Grandma Moses: Grandmother to the Nation” was curated by Lee Kogan, Curator of Special Exhibitions and Public Programs at the American Folk Art Museum in New York City, and Karal Ann Marling, professor of Art History and American Studies at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Marling is the author of the exhibition companion book “Designs on the Heart: The Homemade Art of Grandma Moses,” published by Harvard University Press.

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Reynolda House will host several events focusing on different aspects of the exhibition, all celebrating Grandma Moses and her work as an “outsider” or self-taught artist and the effect her art had on American popular culture and collecting.

There will be a series of Tuesday evening Gallery Talks, concerts, and a Sunday afternoon Back to the Farm Community Day. A day-long symposium on March 3 will feature guest speakers including Karal Ann Marling, Lee Kogan, Jane Kallir, co-director of the Galerie St. Etienne and author of Grandma Moses in the 21st Century, Joy Kasson, chair of the department of American Studies at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and art critic Tom Patterson. Reynolda House will collaborate with SECCA to offer a day-long art trip led by Patterson to visit several self-taught artists in various parts of North Carolina on Tuesday, March 6.

The monthly Sunday afternoon Family First Workshops will feature art activities for elementary school-aged children that have a connection to the art of Grandma Moses. Several Portals of Discovery courses in continuing education for adults will be inspired by her art and the crafts she made popular, such as quilting.

Exhibition Event Details:

Symposium — “Grandma Moses: Then and Now”; 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 3 ; $30, Members/students $25.

This day-long symposium will examine the phenomenon of Grandma Moses, one of the most famous American women artists but a bane to feminists, a paragon of rustic virtues but also a darling of the consumer market. The program will also deal with the effect of Moses’ effect on the business and artistic fortunes of self-taught artists who followed her. Speakers include Jane Kallir, co-director of the Galerie St. Etienne and author of Grandma Moses in the 21st Century; Karal Ann Marling, guest curator of the exhibition, professor of art history at the University of Minnesota, and author of “Designs on the Heart: The Homemade Art of Grandma Moses”; Lee Kogan, director of the Folk Art Institute at the Folk Art Museum in New York City; Joy Kasson, art historian, professor, and chair of the department of American Studies at UNC- Chapel Hill; and Tom Patterson, critic and curator.

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Back to the Farm Community Day, 2-4 p.m. Sunday, March 25. Free.

Over the river and through the woods, to Grandma Moses’s house we go! This spring’s festival will include old-time music, hay rides, sheep-shearing, wool-spinning demonstrations, and home-style refreshments. Art activities will include paper quilt squares, handmade toys, farm collages, and a group tapestry. There is free admission to the Grandma Moses exhibition and the historic house.

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Gallery Talks

Tuesdays, 5:30-6:30 p.m.; $5; Cash bar reception follows.

Feb. 20 — Playwright Angus MacLachlan

Feb. 27 — Reynolda House Assistant Curator Allison Slaby

March 20 — Wake Forest University Associate Professor of Psychology Janine Jennings

April 3 — Reynolda House Director of Adult Programs Phil Archer

April 10 — Reynolda House Curator of Education Kathleen Hutton


* Folk Musician Jeff Warner

Saturday, February 3, 8 p.m.; $12, Members and students, $10.

With warmth, humor, and understated scholarship, Jeff Warner connects 21st-century audiences with the music and everyday lives of 19th-century people. Warner has toured nationally for the Smithsonian Institution and regularly presents musical traditions from the Outer Banks fishing villages of North Carolina to the lumber camps of the Adirondack Mountains and the whaling ports of New England. His songs have “the stamp of authority and real experience” (Tykes News, Yorkshire, UK). In this concert performance, Warner will present songs connected to his and Grandma Moses’s roots in old New England. His songs bring contemporary audiences the latest news from the distant past.

* American Chamber Trio

Friday, March 30, 8 p.m.; $12, Members and students $10

This group’s recent Carnegie Hall concert was praised by The New York Times for its “understanding, imagination, and artistic integrity.” Especially well-received were ragtime inspired compositions by contemporary American composer William Ryden. “For me,” Ryden has said, “from a musician’s perspective, the wonderful primitive art of Grandma Moses has a simple lyricism and whimsy that is a natural fit with ragtime. Ragtime can … set feet tapping, but also warm with sweet strains and nostalgia for a simpler age in America.” Works by Beethoven, Schumann, and Dvorak are also on the program.