Grant Devolson Wood was an American Regionalist painter born in Iowa to Quaker parents. He is perhaps best-known for his famous painting American Gothic, created at the height of his career and featuring all of the ironic and historical meanings that Wood liked to incorporate in his regional paintings. The farmer in this painting was actually his dentist.

Wood's father moved with his family from Iowa to Cedar Rapids in 1901. As a young boy, Wood discovered his talent for art and was very active in school. He created scenery for the school plays and also illustrated for his high school yearbook. With his friend Marvin Cone, Wood also volunteered often with the Cedar Rapids Art Association. Immediately after he graduated from high school, Wood left Cedar Rapids for Minneapolis, where he attended art school. Wood returned to Cedar Rapids in 1911 and was a teacher in a one-room school house in the country.

In 1913, Wood moved to Chicago, where he attended the Art Institute. While in Chicago, Wood also worked for a silversmith. He was eventually called to duty and served in World War I as a camouflage painter. After the war, Wood returned to Cedar Rapids and taught art in the public school system. From 1920 to 1928, Wood travelled with his friend Marvin Cone to Europe, where they studied all of the current trends in European painting, focusing mostly on Impressionism.

In 1928, having been commissioned to make stained-glass windows for the Cedar Rapids Veterans Memorial Building, he traveled to Munich to supervise the windows' production; there he encountered early Dutch painting, and was inspired to give up Impressionism in favor of his characteristic mature style. Wood was particularly influenced by Hans Memling's use of repetition, color and smooth surfaces, and outlines became integral in Wood's regional paintings of the American Midwest.

In 1932, Wood helped to found the Stone City... (More at
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First Collected by

Kevin Blythe Sampson


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