American Gothic facts for kids
|Type||Oil on beaverboard|
|Dimensions||78 cm × 65.3 cm (30¾ in × 25¾ in)|
|Location||Art Institute of Chicago|
American Gothic is one of the most familiar images in 20th-century American art and has been widely parodied in American popular culture. In 2016–17, the painting was displayed in Paris at the Musée de l'Orangerie and in London at the Royal Academy of Arts in its first showings outside the United States.
In August 1930, Grant Wood, an American painter with European training, was driven around Eldon, Iowa, by a young painter from Eldon, John Sharp. Looking for inspiration, Wood noticed the Dibble House, a small white house built in the Carpenter Gothic architectural style. After obtaining permission from the Jones family, the house's owners, Wood made a sketch the next day in oil on paperboard from the house's front yard.
He would not return to Eldon again before his death in 1942, although he did request a photograph of the home to complete his painting.
Wood decided to paint the house along with "the kind of people I fancied should live in that house."
He recruited his sister Nan to model the woman, dressing her in a colonial print apron mimicking 19th-century Americana. The man is modeled on Wood's dentist, Dr. Byron McKeeby from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Wood entered the painting in a competition at the Art Institute of Chicago. A museum patron persuaded the jury to award the painting the bronze medal and $300 cash prize. The patron also persuaded the Art Institute to buy the painting; it remains part of the museum's collection.
With the onset of the Great Depression, the painting came to be seen as a depiction of steadfast American pioneer spirit.
American Gothic is a frequently parodied image. It has been lampooned in Broadway shows such as The Music Man, television shows such as Green Acres and "The Dick Van Dyke Show". It has also been parodied in marketing campaigns and by couples who recreate the image by facing a camera, one of them holding a pitchfork or other object in its place.
Images for kids
American Gothic House - Eldon, Iowa
American Gothic Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.