Grant Wood’s StoryGrant Wood lived for 50 years, made over 40 paintings, started the regionalist movement and became an art legend. Grant Wood lived a both exciting and normal life. I picked this artist for the novelty of it. Grant Wood was born on February 13th, 1891 in Anamosa, Iowa. He lived a happy childhood up until when he was ten. At that point, early in his life, his father died. Shortly after the father’s death, Grant’s mother moved Grant and his sister, Nan, to a place called Cedar Rapids. In Cedar Rapids, Grant attended grammar school and developed an interest in art. Later on, when attending high school, Grant painted the sets for school plays and drew pictures of students. When Wood graduated in 1910, he attended the Minneapolis School of Design. In the next few years to pass, Grant expanded his creativity by learning about making jewelry and creating furniture. When he moved to Chicago in 1913, he did these things to make a living. In 1916, Grant’s mother became ill. Grant then left Chicago and moved to Cedar Rapids to care for his mother. There, he became a teacher at a grammar school to support both his mother and his sister. But this did not stop Grant’s progress as an artist. In the 1920s, he visited Europe to study art done by the Impressionists, and exhibited his own art in Paris. He clearly was inspired by the Impressionists when he came back. In 1928, in Germany, Grant viewed the works of artists, whose attention to detail and realistic portraits staggered his mind. When he returned, the influence of those realistic paintings led him to create one of the most recognizable, famous, critically acclaimed paintings of all time, American Gothic. American Gothic won 300 dollars when entered in an art show at the Art Institute of Chicago. American Gothic also earned Grant notorious fame all over America. Once he obtained this new-found fame, he co-founded the Stone City Colony and Art School. On February 12, 1942, the day before his birthday, Grant Wood passed away. Grant Wood’s style has changed gradually over time. First, he modeled most of his paintings after the French Impressionists, who did their own ‘Impressions’ of their perspective on life. But, when visiting Germany in 1928 and viewing the realistic work of German and Flemish artists, Grant decided to follow suit and make more realistic paintings to convey the many fond memories of his childhood and home state. This shift kicked off the American Regionalist movement. And as such, Grant became the spokesperson of this movement. Grant’s paintings and style depicting farmers and families during the Great Depression reminded people of the hard-working Americans who helped make this country what it is today. Some interesting facts on his style were: First, he uses repeating patterns; second, Grant uses similar plants in both Woman with Plants and American Gothic, while he uses the same brooch for female characters in Woman with Plants and American Gothic. Likewise, Grant painted aspects of his childhood in most of his paintings. Taking aspects of his life and transferring them to his art was the secret of Grant’s success in the art culture of his day. Out of Grant Wood’s many paintings, his most famous is American Gothic. American Gothic depicts a farmer and his daughter(or)wife standing in front of a white farmhouse with a attic window done in the style of ‘Carpenter Gothic’. Notice how the farmer and his daughter are wearing black. The daughter wears black under an apron and seems to be trying to fight back tears, while the farmer wears a black jacket over his overalls and looks to be in a quiet state of grief. The top window’s curtains are closed, possibly suggesting that somebody died up there, explaining the farmer and daughter’s cause for mourning. Moving away from American Gothic, another one of Grant’s paintings is Parson Weem’s Fable. Parson Weem’s Fable depicts Parson Weems, the creator of the George Washington and cherry tree fable, pointing towards a picture of George Washington who is telling his father the clichéd phrase, “I cannot tell a lie.” Notice how George’s head from Gilbert Stuart’s iconic portrait of the president is copied onto the six-year-old form of George in Grant’s painting, making him almost instantly recognizable. Now we have looked at Parson Weem’s Fable, Let’s take a look at Stone City, Iowa. This painting depicts a town that is called Stone City(for obvious reasons). The round hills make for a winding path that leads over the bridge and into the heart of the town. After being a boomtown and mining, the business busted. Here in the painting, the town seems to have gone back to its’ ways of farming and growing crops. If you look closely, far to the left, you can see a window on one of the houses that is almost exactly similar that of to American Gothic. Anyone can see that this was likely included on purpose. To conclude, Grant Wood was pretty much one of the most influential people in art culture. He painted something bright during the Great Depression. This was a time when people were greatly depressed. Grant Wood lived a normal life, despite being influential.


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