Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

Categories: Culture | Exhibition | North America

Everyone knows the painting “American Gothic” by American artist Grant Wood. Art critics dedicate dissertations to her, and netizens have taken her apart into memes. For most, Wood is the author of one painting. But that's not true. The artist created many excellent works telling about the life of the American outback.

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

Grant Wood's paintings are considered national treasures of the United States. And “American Gothic” is the most significant painting in his legacy. However, most Americans will not be able to immediately name the author of the cult painting. This is not their fault - Grant himself tried his best to avoid popularity.

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

Grant DeVolson Wood was born February 13, 1891, in Anamosa, Iowa. His parents were very religious and ascetic people and raised their children in strictness. Wood was interested in fine arts from childhood, but did not advertise it, fearing his strict Quaker father.

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

Grant Wood was forced to hide his talent. For the first time he declared himself as an artist only after the death of his father. Wood studied painting in the USA and France. He traveled for several years throughout Europe, absorbing images from the paintings of artists of the Renaissance and later periods like a sponge.

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

Despite the temptation to stay in the Old World, Wood returned to his homeland and began to create at home. He was impressed by the works of Flemish masters of the 15th and 16th centuries, who painted pictures from the lives of their contemporaries. Arriving home, the artist decided that he would also dedicate his work to his fellow countrymen. Therefore, in the paintings of Grant Wood we see the life of ordinary people from Iowa who lived in the 20-30s of the last century.

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

Raised in strict Christian morality, Wood avoided fame all his life. His whole life is an example of modesty and moderation. Unlike other painters who aspired to fame, Grant Wood made every effort to remain in the shadows.

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

An intellectual and intellectual to the core, Wood created for himself the image of a crude artist-farmer in overalls and a straw hat. In one of his few interviews with the press, he said this about himself:

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

Surprisingly, on his deathbed, Wood asked his loved ones to maintain this image of a simple guy. When Grant Wood left this world, his sister Nan took up the baton and for many years supported the strange role of her brilliant brother. However, over time it became known that Wood was not only a talented artist.

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

It turned out that from a young age he was interested in making jewelry, furniture and designer lamps. Today, the life of Grant Wood is studied by historians and psychologists. Its phenomenon has never been solved. But many experts are inclined to believe that the artist’s secrecy is associated with childhood trauma. Wood felt guilty all his life before his father, who hated secular art.

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

Wood was not liked by his countrymen. They believed his paintings showed Iowans as narrow-minded hillbillies obsessed with their fields and barns. This is another reason why the humble genius tried not to come out of the shadows.

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

The artist’s personal life was also difficult. In 1935, he married Sarah Sherman Maxson, who was 10 years his senior. Moreover, she was like two peas in a pod like the artist’s mother. And in 1942, just one day short of his 51st birthday, the artist died in the hospital from pancreatic cancer.

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

Modest Grant Wood: the secret of the author of “American Gothic”

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