(1891 - 1942)
Grant Wood was active/lived in Iowa. Grant Wood is known for regional scene painter, genre-portrait, landscape.
click to hear
Biography from the Archives of askART
One of the major American Regionalist painters along with Thomas Hart
Benton and John Steuart Curry, Grant Wood was born in Anamosa, Iowa,
and spent his childhood in Cedar Rapids. Unlike Curry and Benton,
he never moved East but remained in the Middle West where he found
inspiration for his paintings of prosperous farms and people reflecting
idealized American values.
Biography from the Archives of askART
However, his work was set apart from
many regionalists in that provoked both laughter and social
indignation. A good example Daughters of Revolution,
1932, depicting the aloof smugness of women who regarded
themselves as emblematic of the country's founding values
This painting was a
retaliation by Wood against DAR members who had criticized him for
their window in Germany instead of America. Much of his satire
was good natured and humorous.
For two summers, Wood attended the
Minneapolis School of Design and Handicraft and Normal Art as a student
of Ernest Batchelder, and he had brief times of study at Iowa State
University and the Art Institute of Chicago from 1913 to 1916.
After World War I, he taught high school art in Cedar Rapids.
that he "had to go to France to appreciate Iowa," he had several trips
abroad, and in 1923 enrolled in the Academie Julian in Paris, but he
determined to make his life in Iowa because "all the really good ideas
I'd ever had came to me while I was milking a cow."
In 1932, he
was co-founder of the Stone City Art Colony and Art School and he
became director of the Public Works Art Project in Iowa. He was
also an Associate Professor of Fine Arts at the University of Iowa.
work can be divided into two periods, the first being views of Cedar
Rapids, other landscapes including scenes of Europe, and a few
portraits. However, in 1928, his work changed when he traveled
to Munich to oversee the making of a stained-glass window for the Cedar
Rapids Veterans Memorial Building commissioned by the Daughters of the
American Revolution. Seeing the severe, austere new style of
painting in Germany combined with work from the late Gothic period, he
developed a unique new style of his own that treated mid-western
subjects with Gothic overtones, satire, and caricature.
In 1930, he produced his first major landscape painting, Stone City,
that had exaggerated perspective and unique naive treatment. From
that time, his paintings had a simple innocence and fantasy that
transported the viewer into another world, often that of a child.
He also did many murals and a few lithographs, completing nineteen
between 1937 and 1942, the year he died of cancer at age 50 in Iowa
Matthew Baigell, Dictionary of American Art
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
It has been established that artists Charles P. Kilgore and Orrin A. White served as US Army camoufleurs in Washington DC during World War I. But it is not commonly known that they were friends of and served in the same camouflage unit as Regionalist painter Grant Wood. Years after the war, in 1933, the three artists exhibited together at Younkers Department Store in Des Moines, for which they were described as having "served in the same camouflage squad during the world war." A news clipping is included in a series of scrapbooks, put together by Nan Wood (the artist's sister), and is viewable online at the Iowa Digital Library's site for the Figge Art Museum Grant Wood Digital Collection. The source of the news article was not preserved, but it is most likely from the Des Moines Register and Tribune, accompanied by the penciled note "Nov 1933?" The headline reads "3 Will Show Oil Paintings. Iowan's in Exhibit Here Next Week." Wood is the Iowan of course, while Charles P. Kilgore (cited in the article as John Kilgore) is described as being from Chicago and Orrin White from Pasadena.
** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
"Stationed at Washington DC," the text continues, "the three young men were trained to camouflage cannons." There is also a brief paragraph in which Wood describes their camouflage work: "'It was a difficult job,' Mr. Wood recalls. 'They took airplane photographs before and after our work was finished. Grass photographs like velvet, every footstep leaves its mark. We had to dig the hole for the cannon and fix it so that not a mark showed.'"
Submitted by Roy R. Behrens, author of Camoupedia: A Compendium of Research on Art, Architecture and Camouflage (2009).
Share an image of the Artist firstname.lastname@example.org.