Daughters of Revolution

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."

Daughters of Revolution, Oil on Masonite, 20" x 39.9", 1932

The Edwin and Virginia Irwin Memorial, Under Copyright 1959.46, Cincinnati Art Museum

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.

Professor Erika Doss (University of Notre Dame) delivers the keynote lecture on Friday, October 28th, on the subject of "Screwball Regionalism: Grant Wood and Humor during the Great Depression." Daughters of Revolution is the only painting Wood recognized as a satirical work, and his sharp sense of humor is very much in evidence. Some claim that he is presenting some of the founding fathers in drag, but more likely he simply chose to represent these women in an unflattering light. Wood's disdain for the Daughters of the American Revolution stemmed from that organization's rejection of a WWI memorial stained-glass window he had created in Germany, home of some the best manufacturers of stained glass in the world. The DAR argued that because the window had been made in Germany it dishonored American soldiers, creating enough controversy in Cedar Rapids that the window was not dedicated until thirteen years after Wood had died. With their anti-German attitude in mind, Wood chose to depict these prim ladies standing in front of the famous painting, Washington Crossing the Delaware—painted by German-born Emmanuel Leutze!

Cincinnati Art Museum

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