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Grant Wood - American Artist

Life and art of Grant Wood

Faith Zimmerman

on 18 July 2013

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Transcript of Grant Wood - American Artist

Grant Wood
American Artist
His artwork allowed people to see the beauty in their own backyards and everyday lives. In the end, it didn’t matter that Grant was shy or that he came from a farm and had little art schooling.
“The best ideas I ever had came to me while milking a cow,” he used to tell people.
American Gothic caused a sensation with the public. It quickly drew the biggest crowds when it was on display at various museums.
When it was shipped to London, people crowded around the painting as if it were
a movie star.
Once back in Iowa his head flooded with memories of the Midwest. Grant began to ask himself why he had spent years painting the French countryside while ignoring the people and things he’d known all his life. From now on, he would focus on the Iowa land and the people he knew best.
Fortunately, he got an art job that sent him back to Iowa. Grant, now a well known artist in his community, was hired to design a stained glass window at one end of the Veteran’s Memorial Building in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Grant never went to battle because he became very ill. When he recovered, he was sent to Washington, D.C. to paint camouflage on cannons and wagons in color patterns that would blend in with the woods, so they would not be seen by the enemy.
While attending night classes he worked during the day teaching art in a one-room schoolhouse.
In October 1920, Grant Wood took a leave of absence from teaching and set out on a trip to study art in Europe.
An art critic once said,
“Iowa, often considered the home of “hicks” by those in the big cities, has produced a world-class artist in overalls.”
Unfortunately, in 1942, he died of cancer.
Twelve years after he painted American Gothic at the age of 51.
An art critic once proclaimed that Grant Wood was an artist that proved you didn’t have to live in Paris, or even in an American art center such as New York, to be a great artist.
Grant Wood’s best known work is his 1930 painting American Gothic.
Grant Wood is most closely associated with the American movement of Regionalism that was primarily an art style of the Midwest. He was one of three artists associated with this style. The two others were
John Steuart Curry and
Thomas Hart Benton.
Then, with the start of World War I all young men Grant’s age were required to serve as soldiers in the army and he was sent to training camp. He became very popular because he sketched portraits of soldiers in his company.
After graduating from high school his early art education included two summers at the School of Design in Minneapolis and three years of occasional night classes at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Early Art Training
Artistic Inspiration

Grant Wood was an exceptional artist from a very young age.
When he was 14, he won third prize in a national contest for a crayon drawing of oak leaves and said that winning that prize was his inspiration to become an artist.
Early Years
Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
He had a real knack for creating the illusion of depth and distance on a flat surface.
Certain facts about Grant Wood’s life from this slideshow were taken from the book Artist in Overalls the Life of Grant Wood by John Duggleby.

Created by F. Zimmerman

After 31 years of being largely unknown, Grant was suddenly a superstar of the art world. Never had such an American artist become so popular so quickly.
The woman who posed for this painting was Grant’s sister Nan Wood and the man was his dentist
Dr. McKeeby.
In 1926, Grant went back to France, this time to try to modernize his technique. He explained to relatives in Iowa that he was going to become an abstract artist like the well-know modern artist’s that were studying abroad.
While in Paris he tried the new modern styles, but his friends said his paintings looked awful and he thought it did too.
Back to Paris, France
Studying art in Europe
While in France he sold enough of his work to pay the cost of his travels.
Grant was not famous when he returned to Iowa, but his old teaching job was waiting for him.
Stone City, Iowa
Here you can easily identify a foreground, middleground, and background.

Fall Plowing
Grant Wood was an American artist best known for his paintings depicting the rural American Midwest.
Grant Wood
Grant Wood was born on a farm in Anamosa, Iowa, where he spent the first ten years of his life. After his father's death in 1901, he moved away from the farm to the city of Cedar Rapids with his mother, sister Nan, and brother Frank. Even though life on the farm came to an end, the sights, smells and sounds of his country childhood would be preserved forever in the faces and landscapes of his famous paintings.
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