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So Long Till Next Year

Grandma Moses

So Long Till Next Year

Grandma Moses
  • Date: 1960
  • Style: Naïve Art (Primitivism)
  • Genre: genre painting

Although Grandma Moses was always open to new challenges, she resisted attempts by outsiders to dictate to her in terms of style or subject matter. "Someone has asked me to paint Biblical pictures," she once noted, "and I say no, I'll not paint something that we know nothing about; might just as well paint something that will happen a thousand years hence."

Nevertheless, despite her staunch adherence to the factual and true, less than two years before she died Moses acceded to a request to illustrate a children's book, Clement C. Moore's famous poem, "The Night Before Christmas." Just as she rose to and ultimately mastered the challenge of painting interiors, Moses—even at the age of nearly 100—was ready to risk something completely untried. Unfortunately, she did not live to see the publication of The Night Before Christmas, which appeared in 1962 and remained more or less continuously in print for the next three decades.

While many of the Night Before Christmas illustrations dutifully follow the text of the poem, So Long Till Next Year is pure fantasy on Moses' part. Not actually published in the original edition of the book, it is nonetheless in many ways the quintessential Christmas painting by an artist who was famous for such subjects. Unlike most of Moses' snowscapes, which are clearly grounded in nature, the blue background of So Long Till Next Year immediately informs us that we are in the realm of the imagination. The scenery is etched on this background in a frosty filigree, like icicles on a window pane. Above all, So Long Till Next Year demonstrates Moses' exceptional flexibility and versatility.

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