1942 Grandma Moses Painting
Appraised Value: $60,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:42)
Paintings & Drawings
Vice President Director of Fine Arts
GUEST: This has been in our family since Grandma Moses painted it.
APPRAISER: So it's a painting by Anna Mary Robertson-- Grandma Moses.
GUEST: Better known as Grandma Moses, a resident of Eagle Bridge, New York. We had a home in Cambridge, New York, and we would drive four, five miles down to Eagle Bridge for two purposes: one was to pick up peach preserve, which Grandma Moses put up for us every summer, and in doing that we discovered on her dining room table these fresh paintings that she had just finished. And if we chose to buy one, we could have one, and she would frame it right there on the dining room table.
APPRAISER: That's great. How old do you think she was at that time?
GUEST: Well, she was an elderly woman and had only started painting in her late 80s. We knew her from about 1940, and so this was before she really became famous. But she was just a wonderful friend of the family. And she would let my mother buy these paintings, which she thought had relatively little value, and I guess my mother did, too, and probably bought eight or ten paintings in all, and my guess would be for perhaps under ten dollars each.
APPRAISER: It's interesting, Grandma Moses started painting, actually you're right, late in life. She was born in 1860. In the late '30s she picked up painting. She had done needlework pictures and then started painting. She was promoted by a gallery in New York, by a fellow named Otto Kallir, and she started having shows around New York and international shows as well. The painting is this great original in this primitive style and that's what really makes it-- this lovely primitive style, these charming little people here. It's signed down here: "Moses," although her name is Robertson. Was the house there when you were there?
GUEST: Oh, yes. It was the original house where we knew her before she got famous and they built her a swell home.
APPRAISER: This is one of her best subjects, the checkerboard house. That is one of the pieces that people really are enthusiastic about.
GUEST: Something that might be as interesting, there are very few Grandma Moses paintings of something other than a winter scene.
APPRAISER: That's right. It's a fabulous one, in great condition. You said you had many more of them.
GUEST: When our parents died, my brother and sister and I split up the paintings. We originally had about ten. My brother and sister are still up in New England and they have about three each. And at some point, my mother gave one of the best away to a New York appraiser in exchange for an appraisal. We were a little upset about that.
APPRAISER: That's an expensive appraisal. Have you had this one appraised?
GUEST: Probably 40 years ago we got a letter from a gallery in New York suggesting it might have a value based on that size of perhaps $10,000. But we have absolutely no idea its current value.
APPRAISER: And you aren't planning on selling it?
GUEST: No, no-- this'll stay in the family.
APPRAISER: I want to show you something else is the fact that on the back here we have her label. And it shows her picture and the actual date when this was painted-- September 2, 1942-- entitled "The Old Checkered House." And then an inventory number. This painting is a very good one. I would think right now if I were to insure it, I'd put insurance value of about $60,000 on it.
GUEST: (laughs) I don't want to say "wow" because that's what everyone says. But that's... really, it doesn't surprise me. She's a famous artist.
APPRAISER: Well, it's a super painting, and thank you.
GUEST: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
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