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Naivism

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Naivism is a collective description of several artistic movements of the 20th century, that are all based on traditional folk art.  The main characteristics are extremely detailed paintings of a certain childishness, that is obtained partly by "copying" children's drawings, partly by ignoring the normal visual perspective of the image.  In general, naivist artists have no academic traditions nor formal art training; yet their works are often captivating because of their immediate freshness and straightforward character.  Naivism as an artistic movement has particularly been performed in the US (Grandma Moses), in France (Henri Rousseau), in Sweden (Nils von Dardel), and in Eastern Europe. 

Grandma Moses, the professional name of Anna Mary Robertson Moses (1860-1961), was an American artist, born in Washington County, New York State, and for most of her life a farmer's wife.  Without formal art training and largely self-educated, she began to paint rural scenes for her own pleasure while in her late 70s.  When her work was exhibited in a drugstore window, it attracted the attention of the New York art collector Louis Calder, leading to her discovery by the New York art world.  In 1939 three of her landscapes were displayed in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and in 1940 her first solo show was presented in the Galerie St. Etienne in New York.  Her work is characterized by harmonious arrangement of figures and simple, decorative treatment.  

USA 1969. Naivism. Grandma Moses. USA 1969. Commercially used cover partly franked with the Grandma Moses-stamp.

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Note: There is further a Danish Naivist artist, Henry Heerup 1907-1993, whose works have appeared on postage stamps. Due to current copyright legislation I am unable to show his works. Here is instead a link to the Danish Heerup-Museum in Copenhagen, which will give you an impression of his rather spectacular art. Other than postage stamps, Heerup was also a prolific designer of Pharmacy Envelopes. 

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