Cincinnati Art Museum hosts famed “American Gothic”

By: Aiyana Moore ~Staff Writer~

In August, Grant Wood’s masterpiece “American Gothic” joined “Daughters of Revolution” at the Cincinnati Art Museum for the first time.

The Cincinnati Art Museum collaborated with the Art Institute of Chicago to bring both of Wood’s paintings to Cincinnati to be part of the new exhibit, “Conversations around ‘American Gothic.’” Wood’s inspiration for “American Gothic” developed when he visited Eldon, Iowa, a small town where Wood spotted the farmhouse that makes up the background image of “American Gothic.”

This house, built in a Gothic Revival style, led Wood to imagine the people who had once lived in the house. With the aid of the local dentist and Wood’s own sister, Wood was able to recreate his vision.

American Gothic - artic dot edu
Painted in 1930, Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” remains one of the most recogniziable images of the 20th century

This couple, though they would eventually portray the famous farmer and his daughter, respectively, did not pose side by side. Instead, they posed separately and Wood added each into the painting. Wood dressed the pair based off of tintypes that he had seen in an old family album and added a pitchfork, successfully completing “American Gothic.”

Though “American Gothic” is often misunderstood as a satirical portrayal of Midwestern people, Wood saw it in a positive light. He believed the farmer and
his daughter to be representatives of survivors in a time of great change. “Conversations around ‘American Gothic’” will play host to not only Wood’s two paintings, but also to “Baptism in Kansas” by John Steuart Curry and Thomas Hart Benton’s “Cradling Wheat.”

Between the World Wars, isolation led these painters, as well as many others, to reinvent American art. The artwork shown at the Cincinnati Art Museum’s “Conversations around ‘American Gothic’” will portray these shifts from European to American art. Visitors to Conversations around “American Gothic” will be asked to compare the works and to think about stereotypes and

They will also be asked to think about how the works portray urban life as compared to rural life and what it means to be American in both senses. “American Gothic” will remain at the Cincinnati Art Museum until Nov. 16. Entrance to the exhibit is $8 for adults, $5 for students with an ID and free for children under 12 years old.

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