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Iowa History Daily: February 13 - Grant Wood of Anamosa

Iowa History Daily: On February 13, 1891, far-famed Iowa painter Grant Wood was born on a farm near Anamosa in Jones County. Best known for his Regionalist representations of the American Midwest, Wood’s work endures as some of Iowa’s best art ever created.

Grant Wood showed artistic ability from a young age. Moving to Cedar Rapids after the death of his father, the 10-year old Wood developed his artistic skills and even won a coloring contest he later credited with inspiring him to pursue a career in art. After high school, Wood attended the Arts & Crafts Guild in Minneapolis and also trained at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Joining the military near the close of World War I, Wood spent some time designing camouflage before returning to Cedar Rapids where he taught art in the public school system to junior high students. Using his summer vacation to study art in Europe, Wood continued to develop his unique style. He later contributed to art in Iowa through founding the Stone City Art Colony and teaching painting at the University of Iowa’s School of Art.

Known for his depictions of rural scenes, Wood’s best known work continues to represent art in the 20th century Midwest. In the 1930 classic painting “American Gothic” the Eldon, Iowa, house appears first in preserved sketches, with the staged figures of Wood’s sister Nan and his dentist Dr. B.H. McKeeby standing on the lawn in Wapello County. Representative of Iowa culture, the painting provides limited commentary while allowing speculation on what the Regionalist painter intended. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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