Published: June 14, 2017
CHADDS FORD, PENN. — Grandma Moses (Anna Mary Robertson Moses) painted this summer scene of Poestenkill, a town in upstate New York, circa 1952. Five decades later, the painting is now hanging in the home of a Washington, D.C., collector, who spied it offered for sale here at the Brandywine River Museum Antiques Show.
The painting was hanging in the booth of White & White Antiques, Skanaeteles, N.Y., so the collector, who was a client of dealer Bettina Krainin, Woodbury, Conn., asked Krainin to come look over the painting with her.
“Steve was asking $225,000 and I knew that painting, I had seen it before and there’s no question that it was a Grandma Moses,” Krainin said after the show. She and her client reviewed condition reports while her client mulled over the sale. “Steve did give me a nice deal,” she said and she ended up buying the painting on opening night of the show, May 26. Krainin met up with her client the next day in Delaware to make the sale and now the collector, who has bought weathervanes and folk art from Krainin, owns her very first Grandma Moses.
The rest of the show (reported earlier in the June 16 edition) went just as well for Krainin. “The show went phenomenally well. We sold two weathervanes, some glass, and a pair of 10th anniversary tie backs.”
Dealer Steve White related to Antiques and The Arts Weekly the story of how he came to acquire the painting a few years ago. He was at the Scoharie Antiques Show, not as an exhibitor but buying things for inventory, when a friend rang his cell phone to ask him about the Grandma Moses painting that Steve had seen years earlier. The family who owned it was looking to liquidate it for cash to start a new business. After a series of back and forth calls over a half hour to negotiate a price, Steve found out the family would sell it for Steve’s price. “Binghamton is 90 minutes away, I made it in record time. I wanted to get down there before they changed their mind. Believe me, I didn’t steal it, I paid a lot for it,” he said.
The painting had rock-solid provenance and as Grandma Moses gave it as a gift for friends, she inscribed it on the back “To Roland and Helen.” The painting, when sold to Steve, included a mound of paperwork, photographs of the artist with the collectors and years of Christmas cards back and forth. “It was one of her best paintings, it had everything you could imagine going for it,” White said.
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