Grant Wood – Happy Birthday!

Grant Wood

It’s American Regionalist artist Grant Wood’s birthday today.  As I have already celebrated this artist’s birthday (see this post) and wrote about him at some length, I thought it might be interesting to look at more of the artist’s most famous work – American Gothic.  Grant Wood was born on this day in Anamosa Iowa USA (1891 – 1942) and is famous for painting the American Midwest, along with fellow Regionalist artists Thomas Hart Benton (see this post) and John Steuart Currie.

American Gothic by Grant Wood 1930

Though known as a painter, Wood also worked in ceramics, wood and metal as well as producing lithographs, ink and charcoal drawings.  The Regionalism movement opposed European abstraction and promoted figurative painting in rural American , primarily the Midwest.   Associated American Artists marketed  Woods work for many years and he encouraged John Steuart Currie and Thomas  Hart Benton (see my post about this artist) to return to the Midwest in the 1930, finding teaching positions for them.

American Gothic (1930) is a national icon, it gave Wood recognition.  The painting has been interpreted as a satire against small town American ruralist, though Wood always rejected this interpretation.  He said that the painting, painted during the Depression, depicted the pioneer spirit.  This image  has been parodied, distorted, and borrowed from so many times – and here in this video are many different versions of the painting. Some are innovative, some silly, some thought-provoking and some – well just bizarre 🙂  One can only marvel at Grant Wood for inspiring these though!

To celebrate this birthday I am hosting another Bookstains Poetry Challenge –  you guessed it …..American Gothic what else!  Update;  Three poems have arrived for  the challege – just click the button to see 🙂

American Gothic by Grant Wood 1930

More about Grant Wood here and the Grant Wood Gallery here

American Gothic image here Grant Wood photo from here

Thanks to bestjonbon for the video!

12 thoughts on “Grant Wood – Happy Birthday!

    1. Yes! ‘Young Corn’ ‘Death on Ridge Road’ and ‘Fall Plowing’ look deceptively simple – but have great effect. The field paintings look so tranquel and peaceful and full of sunlight, whilst ‘Death on Ridge Road’ is brooding and threatening (the shape of the future – progress)
      ‘Woman with Plant’ and ‘Daughters of the Revolution’ make me smile at their satire 🙂

  1. Great post! That painting is so well known, funny as it isn’t really something you’d want on your wall! I think the expressions show the dogged unmoving side of certain Americans, I think I prefer the loud New Yorkers or laidback LAs!

    1. Thanks Jessica! Apart from you and Leslie, I’m stunned at the lack of interest in Grant Wood and American Gothic 😦 I’m composing a poem for the corresponding Bookstains poetry challenge for this iconic picture at the moment 🙂

  2. “American Gothic” is so well known that to some degree it suffers from being overly familiar like the Mona Lisa is. It’s good to see the parodies to rekindle interest in the original. I stumbled upon a Grant Wood retrospective at the Whitney Museum years a go and I was really impressed with his pure landscapes. It’s amazing to think that a young Jackson Pollack was a student of Thomas Hart Benton and that Abstract Expressionism could grow out of American Regionalism. Is there a similar moment in UK art history?

    1. I really like his landscapes too. You make a good point about Thomas Hart Benton’s link with Abstract Expressionism. Norman Rockweel was a bit frustrated with the success of the Abstract Expressionist I know, but I shall have to think about a UK moment of new form of art growing out of an existing British movement :-0 There must be one!

  3. Grant wood, the name suits the painting.
    The thing that strikes me here is the lack of expression.
    I wonder how his art was received among the locals then.
    He didn’t exactly flatter them in his art, clearly a deliberate statement

  4. I must look at more of his work because, like a lot of people, I’m only really familiar with this painting! (And I saw another spoof of it just the other day, am trying to remember where).

    I’m tempted to try your poetry challenge… but me and poetry, when I want it to happen, usually it won’t!

    1. I do hope you do hope the poetry muse visits you Val 🙂 There’s some more of his work in my other links. Have a look at ‘Daughters of the Revolution’ – very anughty 🙂

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