By her early seventies, Anna Moses was no longer active in running her family's farm in Eagle Bridge, New York, and she was looking for other ways to fill her time. At first she tried embroidery, but arthritis made holding the needle too painful. She discovered, however, that her fingers did just fine with a brush, and in 1938, she began creating pictures depicting idyllic scenes of a rural past she had once known. The flat, naive quality of these works embodied a charm capable of winning over even sophisticated viewers. By 1940, the art world was coming to know their maker as "Grandma" Moses, and over the next two decades she would become America's best-loved painter.
In the late 1940s, Moses visited New York City, where she told reporters that "the city doesn't appeal to me." "As picture material?" someone asked. "As any material," she answered.