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Grant Wood

Grant Wood

(1891-1942)

Although his most famous work, American Gothic, has assumed the status of an icon in American culture, Grant Wood is not a name that is immediately known among the American public. Born in Anamosa, Iowa, Wood was trained at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Académie Julian in Paris. His style went through a transformation while he was in Europe, showing a strong influence by German and Flemish painters of the Renaissance. In translating their stylized formality to the American scene, however, Wood added his own distinctive touches of irony and realism.

Wood is best known for his later paintings, which depict the scenes and people of his native Iowa. He became a leader in the regionalist school of 20th-century American art. Despite the arrival of modernism, realism persisted in American art in the 1920s and 1930s, chiefly in the form of regionalism and social realism. The regionalists were antiurban in their outlook, and celebrated in their art the culture of small towns and rural life, which they regarded as authentically American.

Grant Wood was exceptional among the regionalists in two respects: first, he drew inspiration from Flemish and German paintings of the 14th and 15t centuries, which he had seen in Europe. Like these artists, he painted areas of his canvases meticulously in minute details. Secondly, he lampooned some of the country folk he pictured, as in his American Gothic. The couple taken for man and wife in this painting are actually Wood's sister and a dentist, and their clothes were purposefully acquired for the suitable "hayseed" effect.

 

american gothic

American Gothic
1930

Stone City, Iowa

Stone City, Iowa
1930

Fall plowing

Fall Plowing
1931

Birthplace of Herbert Hoover

The Birthplace of Herbert Hoover
1931

the appraisal

Appraisal
1931

daughters of the revolution

Daughters of Revolution
1932

dinner for the threshers

Dinner for Threshers
1934

death on the road

Death on the Ridge Road
1935

Parson Weems Fable

Parson Weems' Fable
1939

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