Grant Wood

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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Grant Wood, born in Anamosa, Iowa, in 1891. Around when he was 10 years old his father died and his family moved to Cedar Rapids. Wood experienced rural life in both of these small-towns and gained respect for the simplicity of his new life. Which in the end, would influence and mature his art.

Wood decided he would become an artist after high school and enrolled in the Minneapolis School of Design. To pay for his expenses, he began teaching, and soon took classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. Later on he would study in Paris. David Turner, became Wood's patron and made sure he had enough money and a place to live for Wood and his mother to live. In 1927, Wood was given the opportunity to design a stained glass window in Germany. While in Germany, Wood had the chance to study the works of German and Flemish masters.

The severe poses and decorative nature of these works gave Wood the last influence he wood need to develop his trademark style. 1930, he had painted American Gothic, which the Art Institute of Chicago bought and which would bring fame and fortune to this artist. Wood became a leader in the Regionalism movement, which stressed art based on farm-life. He also worked in a mural-making program, developed an art colony based on Regionalist Art, and severed as an Assistant professor at the University of Iowa (6 yrs). He died in 1942 of liver cancer. Wood's mature art is Regionalist, meaning his works are fairly realistic portrayals of rural life, praising hard work and farm life. His subject matter was drawn from the Midwest, rural landscapes and farm families dominated his paintings. His style had a simplified realism, smooth and flowing contours, bright green grass, golden fields.