American Gothic by Grant DeVolson Wood

American Gothic by Grant DeVolson Wood


American Gothicby Grant DeVolson Wood

Grant Wood is a famous 1930’sartist. He was born in Iowa on February 13, 1981 (TotallyHistory 1). Wood’sartistic influence is attributed to Iowa’s small town environmentas well as farmland setting. His paintings were mainly characterizedby individuals from his town and abundant farms. Grant Wood’sinfluence was from German and European artists. However, he had aunique style that bridged the difference in conceptual and academicpragmatist artwork. He supported Regionalism in 1930 to 1935, throughrejecting technological and urban development (TotallyHistory 1).Instead, Wood concentrated on scenic rural living in the Midwest andthe US in general. He started his career in art as a school staffartist, later as an illustrator and after attending ChicagoArt Institute, heestablished a silversmith shop in 1916 (TotallyHistory 1). It wasafter Grant’s work became famous in German in 1927, that he washired to create a huge stained glass window (TotallyHistory 1). Hetravelled to Germany, and gained influence from Gothic satire,connotations and sketches. Upon his return in Iowa, he was impressedby a Gothic window from a small farm house, resulting in the creationof the AmericanGothic painting.The painting created in 1930 was bought by the ChicagoArt Institute Annual Exhibition,where it is displayed to date (TotallyHistory 1).


Art processes – AmericanGothic is an oilpainting that is radiantly colored and employs oil glazes patterning.Apparent in the painting is abstraction, and uses of simple colorassociations, as well as the utilization of wiping away painttechnique. The artwork shows Gothic sketches, feelings and satire.Subject matter – the painting comprises of a man and woman from theMidwestern town, Iowa. It is possible to assume that the charactersare a couple. On the contrary, they are Wood’s sister and a localdentist hired as models for the painting. The woman is portrayedfrowning and starring away distantly, as the old man is tight lippedand holds a pitchfork. The painting expresses discomfort amid thecharacters (Shabi 1). Additionally, there is a house that fits wellin the background and communicates the architectural technique ofAmerican Gothic.Form and organization– Grant Wood mixes colors to portray thedifferent elements in the painting. The colors are black, white,blue and green. The models dress in black and white the house ismainly white, a blue sky and green from trees in the background. Theclosely placed man and woman create a wall between the viewer and thehouse in the background. The house represents another space closing(Jones 1). This is because the front wall in neat, while there areblinds over the windows, which makes it impossible to see past thehouse. It is only the blue sky and trees that are also visible. Style– the style is Gothic revival made apparent by the upper housewindow, painted to look like a middle ages pointed arch.


AmericanGothic is arepresentation of the people of Middle America (Jones 1). The facesof the character express the seriousness of the individuals living inMiddletown Iowa. The man holds a pitchfork, which depictspreoccupation with working in his farm. The house in the backgroundshows the kind of house people in the 1930s were likely to live in.According to Shabi (1), Wood’s work is satirical. This is becausethe couple posing is awkwardly placed meant to illustrate the type ofindividuals expected to stay in the background house. Although thecouple appears serious, they are as well ridiculous. Wood depicts amedieval culture from his hometown, Iowa. The seriousness in the faceof the man and woman, illustrates that people in the town wereserious and farmers. The house represents the kind of lifestyle theyhad. Considering that such a structure did not last for long, itcould imply that most people in the town were not wealthy.


AmericanGothic is apainting that represents regionalism. Wood uses characters from histown in painting with the objective of communicating about farm lifein Iowa. By concentrating on a farm setting, he creates a contrastbetween people living in town and in the farms. During a period ofthe great depression, people in the farms were more likely toexperience hardships, which explain the seriousness in the modelsfaces.


Jones, Jonathan. AmericanGothic, Grant Wood (1930). TheGuardian, 18 May2002. Web. 16 Sep. 2015.&lt

Shabi, K. American GothicMeaning: Grant Wood Painting Interpretation and Analysis. Lego Menon, 24 Dec.2014. Web. 16 Sep. 2015.&lt meaning-grant-wood-painting.html&gt

Totally History.Grand Wood Canvas Oil Painting, 2012. Web. 16 Sep. 2015. &lt