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Art Adventures: American Gothic, The American Icon

By Alexander Mason Hankin | May 21, 2018 | Lifestyle

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Grant Wood’s American Gothic can be considered one of the most iconic paintings in American 20th Century impressionist art. It is a piece that has touched generations, transcended pop culture and, in many ways, has become a symbol of simplicity. Initially acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago after winning the third place prize of $300 in 1930, the American Gothic piece can be found in its new home at the Whitney Museum of American Art as the centerpiece of a new exhibition. The exhibition is one of the most comprehensive collections of Wood’s works to date, bringing together paintings, stained glass, and a variety of other decorative pieces.

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Various Works - Grant Wood

Wood is most known for art that exemplifies classic American culture. Be it portraits or fables, his work exudes patriotism yet, simultaneously, there is an undertone of anxiety and unrest that lurks deeper within the societal roots. Wood rose to notoriety during the Great Depression and sought to provide a sense of calm and nostalgia of better days.

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Parson Weems’ Fable - Grant Wood

There is a painting of Parson Weems’ Fable that portrays the well-known tale of George Washington cutting down the cherry tree that is worth seeing. However, instead of featuring a young Washington, Wood placed Washington’s adult head on the body of a young boy, creating a unique juxtaposition of form and sense of peculiarity for the viewer. Another work of note, Death on the Ridge Road, is a highly stylized painting which gives the audience a grim, ominous sense arising from Wood’s own loss of a friend and poet, Cedar Rapids.

Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables. The Whitney Museum of American Art. Running now through June 10th, 2018

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