Spring in the Country

Spring in the Country, oil on masonite, 32 1/8 x 30 1/8 x 2 7/8 in., 1941

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Museum purchase, 93.12

In honor of the anniversary of Grant Wood's birth and death, this week the Daily Palette is celebrating his achievements through four works of art that span his career.  All four works are owned by and currently on view at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art in the ongoing exhibition, "Grant Wood: In Focus."  Images courtesy of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

Grant Wood (February 13, 1891-February 12, 1942) is Iowa's most famous artist and one of the most celebrated American artists of the twentieth century.  He was born near Anamosa, but spent most of his life in Cedar Rapids. Wood developed an interest in art at a young age, and later advanced his skills at the Minneapolis School of Art and Design, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Académie Julian in Paris.  While he worked in an impressionist style early in his career, he is best known as an American Regionalist.  One of the three major Midwestern Regionalists, a triumvirate that also included John Steuart Curry and Thomas Hart Benton, Wood was devoted to painting the people and landscape of his home state.  While some of his paintings have been criticized as satires of rural life, it is clear that he celebrated Americans and Midwesterners alike through his art, his collection of Americana, and his interest in Midwestern history.

Spring in the Country was painted at the end of Wood's life, during his final summer which he spent painting in Clear Lake, Iowa.  That winter he was diagnosed with cancer and he died in February 1942, just hours before his fifty-first birthday.  This work is an example of Wood's infamous style: he captured Iowa's hardworking people and rolling hills in idyllic scenes using precise brushstrokes and close attention to detail.
      In addition to being an important painter, Wood was also a teacher, working in the Cedar Rapids public schools for many years and creating the Stone City Art Colony in the 1930s.  He painted Spring in the Country just before returning to the University of Iowa, where he taught from 1935 until 1942.

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art

This page was first displayed
on February 15, 2013

Find us on Facebook