Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Artist Grant Wood was born on February 13, 1891, near Anamosa, Iowa. His home was in Cedar Rapids, where he began painting at an early age and later worked in many media. In the 1920s he studied painting in Europe and was influenced by 15th-century Flemish artist Jan van Eyck. With John Steuart Curry and Thomas Hart Benton, Wood was a key proponent of Regionalism in the 1930s, which rejected European abstraction in favor of figurative representation of rural American themes. Wood’s “American Gothic” (1930), now a cultural icon, epitomizes the movement. Wood first painted a small, Carpenter Gothic-style house in Eldon, Iowa, then added "the kind of people I fancied should live in that house." His sister and his dentist separately posed as the farm couple. The three-pronged hay fork is echoed in three elements within the painting. The dour, pinched-faced portrait displeased many Iowans.