Friday, September 16, 2005

grant wood

We just spent an awesome day at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The newly opened exhibit of Grant Wood art is fabulous and is in celebration of the 75th anniversary of American Gothic which is on loan from the Art Institute of Chicago for the occasion. Grant Wood became known as the first Regionalist artist, selling his now-famous painting for only $300.00.

If you don't know much about Grant Wood, I would encourage you to make the trip to this wonderful exhibit if you are close enough to do so. It is about 1 1/2 hours drive west of the Quad Cities and the rolling countryside is beautiful, especially this time of year. If not, check out an online gallery.

Grant Wood, who in his 50 short years of life defined midwestern life, is a master of capturing real people on canvas and the most stunning thing I realized today is that he is able to show in minute detail the texture of a blade of grass, a woman's hair, or the fur trim on a coat. He reveled in the ordinary and that is why I so love his works. This was my first time to see an original Wood painting, though I have collected his prints for years.

We also toured the studio where he worked, a remodeled hay loft over a carriage house in downtown Cedar Rapids. Then we drove the 15 miles east to Stone City, Iowa just to drive through the town where Grant welcomed depression-era artists to his colony during the summers. We were in the Stone City painting as we drove over the bridge and wound past the old stone church.

It was a great day.


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