Note: The picture study rotation was updated in July 2020. Some of the artists that were originally in the rotation were removed to make way a more balanced selection in terms of gender and nationality. This unfortunately had the impact of moving some artists around and you may have already studied the artists listed for this. We have included an optional replacement artist at the bottom if that is the case.

Grandma Moses (1860-1961) (or Laura Wheeler Waring - see below)


A documentary made before she died: Grandma Moses! America’s Most Loved Painter of Folk Art! See this lesson plan for ideas on discussing her art.

The Checkered House was a local legend. Situated along the Cambridge Turnpike, it was an inn where stagecoach drivers had changed horses as far back as the eighteenth century. During the Revolutionary War, the inn served as General Baum’s headquarters and field hospital. Its checkerboard front made the house a distinctive landmark that was remembered long after it burned in 1907. Moses painted a number of versions of “Checkered House,” in both winter and summer. When asked how she managed to come up with a new composition each time, she said she imagined the scene as if she were looking at it through a window. By then shifting her viewpoint slightly, she could cause the elements to fall into place differently. Compare with this onethis oneand this one in winter.

  • Taking in the Laundry (1951) Moses recalled that the painting was inspired by a poem she had learned in school as a child. Some seventy years later, she could still recite it by heart:

Oh, Monday was our washing day,
and while the clothes were drying,
a wind came whistling through the line
and set them all a-flying.
I saw the shirts and petticoats
go flying off like witches.
I lost (oh bitterly I wept),
I lost my Sunday breeches.
I saw them flying through the air,
alas too late to save them.
A hole was in their ample part,
as if an imp had worn them.

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