Through his innovative artistic style, Grant Wood's work is known and appreciated throughout the world. He will forever be credited as the artist who celebrated the land and people of Iowa.
Place in Regionalism
By the early 1930s Wood's new painting style prompted the creation of the Regionalist art movement. Wood and his contemporaries, which included other midwestern artists such as John Steuart Curry and Thomas Hart Benton, felt that artists should be freed to paint about the people and places they knew best. Wood felt that art should be made for everyone, and he especially pushed for America to have its own artistic identity - not imported from Europe.
Teaching Art to Others
Wood promoted Regionalism by assisting in developing the Stone City Art Colony, which operated in the summers of 1932 and 1933. This program aimed to train new artists in their "backyard", instead of having to travel to Europe to study. Wood and the other instructors were a huge inspiration for students who attended the Colony.
Wood was also an Associate Professor in Art at the University of Iowa. In the first year after his appointment the art department increased from 550 to 750 students. At the same time Wood was asked to teach at Iowa, he was recruited as Iowa director of the Public Works Art Project, where he oversaw several projects including the murals at the new library at the Iowa State University in Ames.
[Photo captions read]
John Steuart Curry and Grant Wood at the Stone City Art Colony, July, 1933. Photograph by John W. Barry Jr.
Courtesy of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.
Stone City Art Colony Group painting and sketching outdoors, ca. 1932-33. Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. John W. Barry. Photographer John W. Barry. 89.2.12.
Make Your Own American Gothic Parody!
American Gothic is the second most parodied painting in the world (The Mona Lisa is first). You can make your own parody!
Costumes, glasses, AND hay forks are available to borrow in the American Gothic House Center! When open, Center staff and volunteers are happy to help you take pictures.
How to pose: Stand in the concrete circle just to the side of the window's center beam, where the Xs are shown in the diagram.
For a photograph of two: Frame your image vertically. Adjust the height of your camera by bending lower. Be sure the couple's heads intersect the roofline of the house as in the painting.
For groups: Frame your image horizontally. For best results, be sure the window is centered above the group.
Share your pictures with the American Gothic House Center!
We love to see pictures from visitors! Send us your picture and we will add it to our wall of visitor pictures!
You can e-mail your photos to
or mail them:
American Gothic House Center
300 American Gothic Street
Eldon, Iowa 52554
Post your photo on the American Gothic House Facebook page using this barcode! [QR code]