“I had to go to France to appreciate Iowa.”
– Grant Wood, February 13, 1891 – February 12, 1942, painter (self-portrait)
American Gothic and Parodies
Grant Wood, American Gothic (1930), Art Institute of ChicagoWood’s best known work is his 1930 painting American Gothic, which is also one of the most famous paintings in American art, and one of the few images to reach the status of universally recognised cultural icon, comparable to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Edvard Munch’s The Scream.It was first exhibited in 1930 at the Art Institute of Chicago, where it is still located. It was given a $300 prize and made news stories country-wide, bringing Wood immediate recognition. Since then, it has been borrowed and satirised endlessly for advertisements and cartoons.Art critics who had favorable opinions about the painting, such as Gertrude Stein and Christopher Morley, assumed the painting was meant to be a satire of repression and narrow-mindedness of rural small-town life.