Grant Wood — American Gothic. 1930.

How a House Inspired American Gothic, a Modernist Painting

Regia Marinho


A Modernist Masterpiece.

American Gothic is a 1930 painting by Grant Wood in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Wood was inspired to paint what is now known as the American Gothic House in Eldon, Iowa, along with the kind of people he thought should live in that house.

The painting shows a farmer standing beside his daughter.

Who was Grant DeVolson Wood?

Grant Wood, Self-portrait, 1932, Figge Art Museum

On a day like today, American painter and academic Grant Wood was born.

February 13, 1891.

Grant DeVolson Wood born in Anamosa, Iowa. February 13, 1891 — February 12, 1942).

He was an American painter best known for his paintings of the rural American Midwest, particularly American Gothic, an iconic painting of the 20th century.

Though he spent much of his childhood in this rural town, Wood moved many times during his formative years.

Wood frequently traveled abroad. Between 1922 and 1928, he visited Europe four times, where he developed a devoted appreciation for the work of Jan van Eyck.

A pioneer of the Northern Renaissance, Van Eyck is renowned for his detailed paintings rendered in a realistic style.

And this artistic approach would greatly influence Wood, but he did not share Van Eyck’s interest in biblical motifs or spiritual symbolism.

He found inspiration in his daily life.

American Gothic. Top image.

Grant Wood (1891–1942), American Gothic, 1930. Oil on board, 30 3/4 x 25 3/4 in. (78 x 65.3 cm). Art Institute of Chicago.

The painting is named for the house’s architectural style.

North American architectural style Carpenter Gothic.

Carpenter Gothic, also sometimes called Carpenter’s Gothic or Rural Gothic, is a North American architectural style.



Regia Marinho

I write about ideas, technology, the future and inspire the world through art. Artist. Civil engineer.