Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"Gentleman Farmer"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

Everyone knows this iconic painting.  People from all over the world recognize the farming couple. If you observe people in the Art Institute of Chicago, when they see Grant Wood's American Gothic, they immediately stop to look closely. 

Truth be told, the man and woman were models for Grant Wood's vision of 'the kind of people I fancied should live in that house'.  The woman was Wood's sister and the man, their dentist.  The house still stands in Eldon, Iowa - I've seen it myself.  We took a road trip along the Grant Wood Scenic Byway several years ago - a most splendid drive through rolling hills, all too familiar in Wood's paintings.

Grant Wood is in my top-10 favorites list of artists.  I have books of his work dating back to the 70's.  I have a love affair with the Regionalism artists - referred to as American Scene painting done from the 20's thru the 50's.  Thomas Hart Benton, John Curry, Grant Wood are the most recognizable of that art movement.  It is said that their depictions of rural life in the American heartland made people feel better during the Great Depression - specifically American Gothic came to be seen as a depiction of steadfast American pioneer spirit.

Wood entered his painting in a competition at the Art Institute of Chicago and although the judges poo-pooed it, a patron convinced them to award it with a medal, a cash prize and persuaded the museum to buy the painting, where it is today.

No comments: