American artist Grant Wood, born in Iowa on Feb. 13, 1891, is best known as the painter of American Gothic, an oil painting on beaver board completed in 1930.
The portrait showing an American farmer and his daughter posed in front of their neat white farmhouse was entered into a competition sponsored by the Art Institute of Chicago, and won third prize.
The museum, which owns the painting still, states, "The highly detailed style and rigid frontal arrangement of the figures were inspired by Northern Renaissance art, which the artist studied during three trips to Europe."
Wood's fame grew quickly as the popularity of the painting spread, with interpretations of the artist's intent ranging from a parody of rural America to a tribute to the strength and character of those who work and live there.
A detail of Wood's 1931 oil-on-Masonite panel painting, Young Corn, was used as the vignette of a 32¢ stamp issued Aug. 1, 1996, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Iowa statehood (Scott 3088).
Just two years later, a stamp honoring Wood specifically and showing American Gothic was issued as part of the 20-stamp set, Four Centuries of American Art (Scott 3236q).
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