January BY GRANT WOOD
GRANT Wood leapt into nation-wide fame in 1933, when his painting, American Gothic,
won tremendous critical and popular acclaim at the Century of Progress Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture
at the Chicago Art Institute. Since then, he has gained a growing recognition that
has put him well in the van of America’s most distinguished artists.
Born in Iowa in r892, he was first interested in metalwork and handmade jewelry
before turning to the graphic arts.
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He studied at the Chicago Art Institute and the Academic Julian in Paris.
Quite as important as his academic training was his study of the German primitives:
they may be said to have given him a point of departure in his treatment of regional types.
The artist lives in Iowa City, whence he draws upon the rich hinterland of the Middle West.
Long before the Federal Arts Project, Grant Wood founded a school in Stone City, Iowa,
for fostering local talent. He now teaches at the University of Iowa. A graceful raconteur,
a superb conversationalist, and something of an authority on a variety of things besides art,
this stocky, blond, blue-eyed man looks like anything but a conventional artist.
January, a snow scene with stacked-up cornshocks, shows Wood’s strong interest in
recurrent pattern-an interest that is almost Oriental in its intensity.