I’ve always enjoyed Grant Wood’s artwork, but was reminded of it again with my immersion into Iowa during the Great Depression. Wood’s art is compelling and whimsical at the same time.
This children’s book is a nice overview of of his growing-up years, how his gift was developed, and how he was received as an artist in his own time.
In the back is a section about “Drawing and Painting like Grant Wood,” leading to a handsome chicken. Those iconic chickens were a recurring theme in so much of his art.
Grant Wood’s work coincided with the Great Depression. I was interested in the designs he did for public murals, such as the ones in the library at Iowa State College (now University) at Ames, Iowa. He was state director of the Public Works of Art Project, an agency of the federal government to put artists to work. Remarkably, Wood donated his time for the project.
Eight staircase mural panels were painted in 1934, and were designed to reflect the different subjects taught at the land-grant college. Fourteen artists were hired to paint the murals. They used an old swimming pool at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where Wood was an associate professors, as a studio.
The murals are still an attraction in the Iowa State University Library.
This book, compiled by Joan Liffring-Zug, has many photos of Grant Wood’s work in color, stories behind the scenes, and quotes by people who knew and worked with Iowa’s favorite artist in bib overalls.