Art Analysis: American Gothic By Grant Wood

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Sometimes an artist has to struggle to great lengths to allow his work to stand the test of time. American Gothic is an example of this. American Gothic, painted by Grant Wood in 1930, is an oil painting that most people are guaranteed to have seen multiple times throughout their life. It depicts two elderly people standing in front of an old house. The man holds a pitchfork and stares directly at the viewer, while the woman stares into the distance. The tone of the piece, depending on interpretation, can range from somber to peaceful to aggressive. Wood painted American Gothic in the summer of 1930, planning to enter the piece into the Art Institute of Chicago's annual exhibition. He took his inspiration from what’s now referred to the “American…show more content…
Many believed that there were satirical undertones in American Gothic, despite Wood himself insisting that there were not. While Iowans yelled at Wood or even threatened him for insulting them, non-locals praised Wood’s work for the social commentary it depicted. When time passed and America sank deeper into the Great Depression, people began to see the painting as a representation of their current state. The general mindset toward the piece shifted as people stopped seeing it as an insult and instead started seeing it as reality. The painting was later used in a bunch of magazines, where it was shown in a series of patriotic posters and branded as “pro-America”. When Grant Wood died in 1942, World War II was looming over the horizon so many critics started criticizing American Gothic in order to get easy recognition. One critic, Dorothy Odenheimer, described Wood as "a provincial whose vision was restricted in more than a physical sense to the rolling hills of Iowa. He had no taste, no sense of color, no feeling for atmosphere, no smell of the soil, no wind in the

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