Spring in Town

The Grant Wood Art Colony

Grant Wood (1891-1942) helped develop the Stone City Art Colony in Stone City, Iowa, which operated during the summers of 1932 and 1933. The Grant Wood Art Colony, under the direction of the School of Art and Art History at UIowa, honors Wood's belief in the importance of art colonies by offering the Grant Wood Fellowship program and organizing a biennial symposium.

This week, The Daily Palette is celebrating Grant Wood by featuring five of his most famous paintings, each matched with the theme of a paper being presented at this year's Grant Wood Symposium, on October 28th and 29th. This year's theme: "Myth, Memories, and the Midwest: Grant Wood and Beyond."

Spring in Town, Oil on Masonite panel, 26" x 24 1/2", 1941

Sheldon Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, IN

Grant Wood was born in Anamosa, Iowa, and trained at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Academie Julian in Paris, France. He taught art in the public schools of Cedar Rapids, Iowa from 1919 to 1924 and at the University of Iowa from 1935 to 1940. He is one of the major figures in American Regionalism, sharing this distinct status with Thomas Hart Benton and John Stewart Curry. The Regionalist artists reflected the isolationist attitudes of the country between World War I and World War II. This was evident in the art world as well as in politics. The artists of this historical style were rebelling against Modernist art, which was seen as elitist, foreign-influenced, and not representative of the American experience. The art produced during this period was socially-conscious, but was nationalistic and chauvinistic about life in America.

Spring in Town was Grant Wood's last painting, completed less than a year before he passed away on February 13, 1942. It is a poignant picture, and was featured on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in a sentimental attempt to remind people what American soldiers were fighting to protect during World War II. But the painting was much more personal than that for Wood. In her paper, "In Springtime: Myth and Memory in Grant Wood's Last Paintings," Professor Sue Taylor (Portland State University) explains that "the earthen plot in Spring in Town doubles as garden and grave, while the figures surrounding it evoke family members who go about life without father, exiled to Cedar Rapids, to town."

Sheldon Swope Art Museum

This page was first displayed
on October 28, 2016

Find us on Facebook