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Wood, Grant [American, 1891-1942] 

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Wood, Grant [American, 1891-1942]


[ 20th Century Artists | American Regionalist Artists ]

Born in 1891, Grant Wood was raised on a small Iowa farm. Originally his art career consisted of sign painting and interior decorating. Eventually his interest in art would expand enough to enroll him in a Minneapolis art institute. Later, he would again enroll, this time in a Chicago institute. With his education he spent several years as an art teacher before serving for the American forces in World War I.

After many trips to Europe, as many young artists of this time took, Wood changed his style dramatically. With a newly discovered realistic technique and his own knowledge of American folk art, Wood came up with a style so original, he often brought several emotions to people with his work.

Grant Wood often made a satire of certain events. For example, in Parson Weems Fable he painted a fully matured George Washingtons head on a six year old body. Parson Weems, author of a book entitled Life of Washington, where the cherry tree tale originated, stood by watching. One final touch put the setting of the picture in Woods very own front yard.

Another piece by Wood poked fun at the group Daughters of the American Revolution, referred to as (DAR). The work, sarcastically entitled Daughters of Revolution, was inspired by a small argument which began in 1928. Wood was asked to do a stained-glass window for the Veterans Memorial Building and went to Europe for training. When it was fully constructed many people realized the panels were built in Germany, a major American enemy only ten years earlier and members of the DAR would not allow it to be dedicated. Wood countered this attack by picturing what the DAR counter-part, the Sons of the American Revolution, called, “three sour-visaged, squint-eyed and repulsive-looking females, represented as disgustingly smug and smirking because of their ancestral heroes of the American Revolution.”

Not always criticized, however, Grant Wood gained national prominence with his work American Gothic. Awarded in 1930 in an annual exhibit in Chicago, American Gothic has become an icon of Mid-West life everywhere. Many people make a pilgrimage every year to the Cedar Rapids Art Museum to see his works, many of whom travel thousands of miles.

Perhaps one of the best regionalist painters, Grant Wood (1891-1942) will be remembered, not as a satirical painter but as an artistic genius.


  Wood, Grant [American, 1891-1942]

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