Grant Wood's Iowa Art | Midwest Living

Grant Wood's Iowa Art

Grant Wood couldn't have guessed that he was creating a national icon.

The painter of American Gothic, which now hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago, drew much of his inspiration from the orderly agricultural landscape where he grew up in east-central Iowa. Wood built his reputation on stylized, early-20th-century depictions of spreading trees, pristine farmlands and smoothly mounded hills caved into a neat, brown corduroy of furrows.

You can view evidence of the painter's breadth and ability at museums across the Heartland. Several of Wood's landscapes hang in the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Museum of Art. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts showcases the painter's study of the rural birthplace of another famous Iowa native son: President Herbert Hoover of West Branch. Daughters of the Revolution, a sardonic look at three dour ladies, hangs in The Cincinnati Art Museum.

Omaha's Joslyn Art Museum features Stone City, Iowa. That painting is Wood's affectionate look at the tiny town where he founded an art colony in 1932. Although the colony has long since disbanded, Stone City welcomes thousands of Wood's admirers every year (20 miles northeast of Cedar Rapids). Many travel on to nearby Anamosa to view the collection of American Gothic parodies at the Grant Wood Tourism Center and Gallery. You also can visit Wood's grave there at Riverside Cemetery.

To view Wood's works online, click on the following links and use the search engine provided on each site. Use the key words "Grant Wood."

For a look at many of Wood's works online:

Going Back to Iowa: The World of Grant Wood


Art Institute of Chicago

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art


Stone City, Iowa

Anamosa Chamber of Commerce


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