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Grant Wood (American, 1891-1942)


Also known as:  Grant DeVolson Wood; Wood, Grant DeVolson

Grant Wood remains one of the great contributors to American artistry today. Early in his life he was encouraged to be creative. Wood focused on a variety of arts in his early career having dabbled in lithography, ink, charcoal, ceramics, metal, and wood.

After World War I, Wood traveled to Europe on four different occasions to study impressionist art where he was influenced by 15th century artist Jan van Eyck's works depicting realism. Wood would eventually create his own style of American scene painting focusing on Regionalism.

Having been raised in Iowa, Wood was enamored with the lives of mid-western farming folk and focused on a regional mid-western theme. Wood would finally gain some attention after entering his most famous piece of art in an exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago.

His painting American Gothic received a prize for $300. This painting depicting a farmer holding a pitchfork with his daughter by his side has been immortalized in ways that Wood could never have imagined. This work of art has been used in advertisements and parodies across the nation. His sister Nan served as a model for the lady in the painting.

Most of Wood's paintings were of the people he loved the most, mid-westerners. One of his works though was of a famous event during the American Revolution and how he imagined it, the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.

Grant Wood passed away of pancreatic cancer before his 51st birthday in 1942. The US Mint honored him with a mention on the 2004 Iowa quarter.

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