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  • Writer's pictureDiane M Kellogg

Sketch Pad - January 12, 2021

Today, Let's take a look at a historical painting...

American Gothic by Grant Wood, circa 1930. Oil on beaverboard.

The painting is currently in the public domain, photo source, Wikimedia Commons.

Currently in the collection of The Art Institute of Chicago, the painting was based on an actual house in Eldon, Iowa. Many often mistake the characters in the painting as a couple when they are actually supposed to be a farmer and his daughter. It is interesting to note that the models for the painting were the artist's sister and his dentist. The house and both of the models were all painted separately, not in the same sitting.

The artist painted what he perceived as the type of people who might live in the house.

The winner of a Bronze medal and a $300 prize after being entered in the Art Institute of Chicago's Annual Exhibition in 1930, it was also added to their collection. It was this painting that brought fame to Grant Wood. The meaning of the painting is controversial, some believe it to be mean-spirited towards the people of the American Midwest while others believe it pays tribute to the honest values of the heartland. Whatever the artist's intentions, this painting definitely makes the viewer think and inspires discussion.

There have been many different versions of this painting lampooned over the years. From use in advertisements to the covers of MAD magazine, artists have used the painting to express different views. A great place to view some of these parodies is

Look for more historical painting posts to come in the future on Sketch Pad, our PWM Blog's daily post.

Quote of the day...

"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see."

Edgar Degas

Sources -

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