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Grant Wood
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    (February 13, 1891-February 12, 1942)
    Best known for his painting 'American Gothic (1930)'
    Also painted 'The House on the Corner (1928),' 'The Ride of Paul Revere (1931),' 'The Birthplace of Herbert Hoover, West Branch, Iowa (1931),' 'Death on the Ridge Road (1935)' and 'Sentimental Ballad (1940)'
    He liked to walk barefoot through corn fields.
    His style of art is Regionalism, exclusively Midwestern in origin and developed at the start of the Great Depression in 1929. It was a movement that strongly opposed European abstract art.
    'American Gothic' is the image of a farmer (with a pitchfork) and his unmarried daughter. So who did he get as models for the portrait? His dentist and, in an act of nepotism, his sister.
    It was painted on beaver board, which is fiberboard used for partitions and ceilings.
    He entered 'American Gothic' in a show at the Art Institute of Chicago, yet this 'important piece of Americana' placed only 3rd.
    The dour expressions of the pair in the painting led folks outside the Midwest to believe that he was poking fun at rural life, a claim he denied, but not convincingly.
    Many Iowa farmers' wives wrote letters of complaint to him, objecting to what they perceived as a negative stereotype.
    His name could mean giving permission for an erection.
    When he was 10 years old his father died, and his mother was forced to sell the beloved family farm.
    He had a good sense of humor, made friends easily and was popular in high school, designing scenery for school plays and drawing pictures for the school paper and yearbook.
    After he graduated high school, he taught art, learned carpentry, made jewelry, decorated people’s houses and cared for his mother and his sister - the woman in 'American Gothic.'
    He joined the U. S. Army during World War I. His job was to paint camouflage on tanks and cannons.
    After spending many years in the art centers of Europe, he realized the best place to create art was right in his own backyard.
    He received a $300 prize for 'American Gothic,' a lot of money in the Depression era.
    At the end of the Depression, the public increasingly turned its back on painters of the 'American Scene' when the economic crisis was over. He was deeply affected by this indifference and died at age 50 after trying to start a new career under another name.
    Today, 'American Gothic' is priceless and considered to be one of the most important paintings ever created by an American artist.
    The painting has been parodied countless times, including the opening credits on the TV series 'Green Acres.'

Credit: Scar Tactics

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