Thursday, May 23, 2019

"Man and Wife"

9 x 12"
oil on panel

My new painting features the iconic portrait American Gothic by one of my favorite painters, Grant Wood, in the Art Institute of Chicago

The viewer usually assumes the couple in the painting is man and wife although it was meant to depict a farmer and his spinster daughter.  The models were Wood's sister, Nan, and his dentist, Dr. Byron McKeeby, both Iowans.

Fun facts about American Gothic ~

~ It was an instant success, entered into the 1930 exhibition at the Art Institute and purchased by the museum.

~ The little, white cottage still stands in Eldon, Iowa.  I've been there.  The second floor window is 'carpenter gothic' style, which Wood found pretentious for such a humble home.

~ The dentist, Byron McKeeby, felt obligated to pose for Wood as he was a worthy patient who enjoyed sugar on most everything.  Even lettuce.

~ Both models and the house were all painted in separate sessions.

~ Iowans weren't thrilled with how they were portrayed to the world, as this wasn't how they saw themselves. One farm wife was so mad, she threatened to bite Wood's ear off.  Wood insisted he was a loyal Iowan and meant no offense, only a homage.

~ The artist's signature is hidden in the farmer's overalls.

The importance of American Gothic is, in Wood's own words, to celebrate the nation's fortitude and spirit during tough times.  It brought rise to Regionalism, or American Scene painting, making fellow artists like Thomas Hart Benton and John Curry and Grant Wood famous.  Personally speaking, all three of these painters are favorites of mine.

Please click here for a larger view.

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