Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Salon: A Favorite Painting

Stone City, Iowa (1930) by Grant Wood (1891 - 1942)

This is one of Grant Wood's (yes, THE Grant Wood of American Gothic infamy) beautifully conceived landscape paintings. I am extremely fond of his scenic wonders, though there are a few portraits I like as well. Most especially, The Appraisal, with its luscious evoking of a most perfect hen. (At least to my eyes.)

Wood's influential landscape style with its rolling hills painted almost literally AS rolling hills, his 'cartoonishly' round little trees, is nature at its most manicured - controlled yes, but also tactile, sensuous and very attractive. Contrast the static buildings scattered through-out the scene, dwarfed by the churning landscape. His work is instantly recognizable and like no other. The influence of his authentic style on today's illustrators can't be overestimated. I am a major fan.

To read about Grant Wood's work, please go here.


  1. I like him, but there are so many
    others I like better.


  2. Yvette, I just discovered your blog via book blogs and I am glad I did, it has been very enjoyable reading and I love all the wonderfull visuals, thank you. I look forward to further reading.

  3. Yvonne: There's room for all types of artists and their work - right? Some we like more than others, but that's okay, too. ;)

  4. Book pusher: Thanks so much for dropping by. And thanks for the kind words. As you can see, we not only talk about books here, but all sorts of other pleasant things as well. :)

  5. When can I move there? I've already picked out the tree that will hold my fort!

  6. Ryan: I want to live there too. We'll be neighbors. :) Yeah, this is such an idealization. Such an unique style.

  7. I am married to an Iowa farm girl, Yvette (my wife grew up in the small Moravian community of Grace Church, near Washington) and I've come to appreciate Grant Wood from that angle. My sense is that there's also a satirical dimension to his Iowa paintings (certainly there is in American Gothic) along with the celebration of rural simplicity. Your website gets these paintings to come across as luscious.

  8. Robin: I was in Iowa once, in the early sixties, for about ten minutes. (I was on a bus trip.) I know very little about it, except for when I watched the great floods of a few years ago on TV. It seems though, like an ideal farm country kind of place. Indelible in images like Wood's.

    Robin, I do believe there was a streak of satire in his work, but also, I can't help but feel, a great deal of affection. His technique is so stylized, so unique. I love it. He certainly influenced me when I began painting. He still does. (When it comes to control of landscape.) He influenced so many over the years. Hard to believe he died so long ago. The year of my birth, actually. When dinosaurs roamed the earth. :)


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