Maud Lewis is often referred to as Canada’s Grandma Moses. She was born in Ohio and moved to Nova Scotia as a teenager after her parents died. Lewis suffered from significant physical disabilities as well as arthritis. At the age of 34, she married a fish peddler, whom she accompanied on his daily rounds, selling hand-made Christmas cards. They lived their entire life in poverty, in a one-room house in the country.
More of a folk artist than an outsider artist, Lewis began painting on other surfaces, such as cookie sheets and Masonite, usually of outside scenes of flowers and farm animals. Her painting later extended to every surface of their house, inside and out. Around 1950, customers started buying paintings directly from Lewis, usually for a few dollars. She gained notoriety in 1970s when two of her paintings were bought for the White House during Nixon’s presidency.
After Lewis and her husband’s death, their house was acquired by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, where it was restored and installed as part of a permanent exhibit.