Grant Wood called himself ldquo;a farmer-painter; the plainest kind of fellow you can find. There isnrsquo;t a single thing Irsquo;ve done or experienced,rdquo; Wood said, ldquo;thatrsquo;s been even the least bit exciting.rdquo;Wood was celebrated for having the common touch, perceived to be a simple man whose simplicity was not an artifice, but the very essence of his character.In this major new biography of Americarsquo;s most acclaimedmdash;and misunderstoodmdash;regionalist painter, Grant Wood is revealed as anything but plain, or simple . . .R. Tripp Evans makes clear that Woodrsquo;s 1930 American Gothic and scenes of farmlands, farm workers, and folklore stand in direct contrast to the dark, complex painter he was. We see that although Wood claimed to have been a self-taught painter, he was a sophisticated artist, trained in Paris and Munich in the 1920s. He was known for his heartland traditionalism and piety, but was in fact deeply ambivalent about religion. He maintained lifelong deeply idiosyncratic relations with family and spent most of his life hiding his homosexuality.Drawing on letters, the artistrsquo;s unfinished autobiography, and his sisterrsquo;s writings, as well as a cache of materials that were in his ex-wifersquo;s possession, Evans brilliantly illuminates both the artist and the man.
In this detailed and revelatory biography of an important American artist, known by the public mainly for the instantly recognizable dual portrait of a stern, pitchfork-holding farmer and his wife, called American Gothic (a painting that has been parodied as much as it has been studied), R. Tripp Evans brings to light the human tragedy of a man forced to suppress his sexuality by the homophobic atmosphere of the time (Wood lived from 1891-1942) and of an artist whose life was also straitjacketed by the disapproving influence of his own father, even though the man died when Wood was only ten years old. Evans, an art historian, skillfully examines the paintings themselves to find not only their artistic merit but also reflections of the unlived life and unexpressed grief that form the artist's legacy. The book includes 16 pages of color photographs, as well as black and white illustrations.
- Biography + Autobiography
- Artists + Architects + Photographers
- Alfred a Knopf Inc
- October 5, 2010
- October 5, 2010
- R. Tripp Evans