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American Gothic by Grant Wood

Grant Wood, American.  American Gothic, 1930.  Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago: Friends of American Art Collection.

Look at this!
American Gothic is one of the most famous paintings in American art.  Iowa-born artist Grant Wood got the inspiration for it when he drove past a white cottage in Eldon, Iowa during the summer of 1930.  He asked his sister, Nan, and his stern-looking dentist, Byron McKeeby, to pose as farmers.  Would you believe that Wood was able to paint Nan and Byron standing side-by-side even though they never posed together?

A few months later, Wood entered the painting in a competition at the Art Institute of Chicago and won the third place award of $300.

Think about it.
After the competition, a picture of the painting was published in an Iowa newspaper.  Iowa farmers criticized Wood for portraying them in a negative light.  Wood defended himself by saying that he was a "loyal Iowan" and that the painting celebrated rural life in America.  What do you think?  Do you think American Gothic celebrates or pokes fun at farmers?

Find it.
There are actually two pitchforks in the painting.  The man is holding one.  Can you find the second, hidden one?

Get creative!
It has been more than 70 years since Wood painted American Gothic, but no one knows for sure whether the woman is supposed to represent the man's younger wife or his unmarried daughter.  Which do you think she is supposed to be?  Now, write a poem about why she and her husband or father have those expressions on their faces (are they tired, unhappy, party poopers, or just plain mad?).

Write a poem about this art. Click here to write.

Poems

Title:

the farm

Name:

megan

Hometown:

Age:

9

Title:

the pichfork

Name:

Nicholas

Hometown:

Age:

8

Title:

How do you do?

Name:

Chelsea

Hometown:

FL

Age:

15

Title:

Burgulars

Name:

Grace

Hometown:

Winona Lake, IN

Age:

13

Title:

Poor Farmer's Wife

Name:

Elizabeth

Hometown:

US

Age:

9

Title:

Step

Name:

Indica

Hometown:

Carthage

Age:

12

Title:

America

Name:

Garr

Hometown:

Age:

no

Title:

Goodbye

Name:

Kari

Hometown:

Wichita

Age:

11

Title:

Weird Aliens

Name:

Meghan

Hometown:

Louisville

Age:

12

Title:

Untitled

Name:

Cedric

Hometown:

Miami

Age:

10

Title:

Confused

Name:

Prachi

Hometown:

Delhi

Age:

10

Title:

America

Name:

Andrew

Hometown:

Rural Hall

Age:

13

Title:

His Surprise

Name:

Janna

Hometown:

Age:

14

Title:

Deep Thoughts

Name:

Adia

Hometown:

Jackson, MS

Age:

14

Title:

The Picture

Name:

Courtney

Hometown:

Dexter,NM

Age:

9

Title:

Old Peeps

Name:

Madisen

Hometown:

WA

Age:

11

Title:

Sadness on the Farm

Name:

Nora

Hometown:

Garnville, NY

Age:

10

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