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Hoosick Valley (From the Window)

Grandma Moses

Hoosick Valley (From the Window)

Grandma Moses
  • Date: 1946
  • Style: Naïve Art (Primitivism)
  • Genre: landscape

If Moses took anecdotal vignettes from newspaper and magazine clippings, her painting technique was largely derived from her experiences with embroidery.

Like all women born in the days when store-bought clothes were a rare luxury, Moses had learned to sew in early childhood. Her first sustained pictorial efforts were, perhaps as a result, undertaken not with paint but with yarn. Even after Moses gave up making these embroidered "worsted" pictures, she tended to treat paint like yarn.

Perhaps one of the most salient aspects of working with yarn is that— unlike paint—yarn makes it impossible to blend colors. In order to achieve subtle gradations of hue, multicolored strands must be placed side by side. This way of working translated into what some have characterized as Moses' impressionistic handling of paint. In Hoosick Valley (From the Window), varied tones of green and yellow are set next to one another to evoke the interplay between parched meadows and verdant hills.

Moses also used paint texture in a manner that mimicked embroidery. Fenceposts are "stitched" into place, blossoming trees appear to be rendered in little knots of thread. Moses established a series of textural gradations, from flat expanses and isolated blocks of color to more intricate, multicolored configurations. Certain details were deliberately executed in raised paint in order to set them off from the background. Many of Moses' paintings, when viewed up close, are actually composites of abstract forms.

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