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December 20, 2004

The truth about Grant Wood's painting, 'American Gothic' - it was painted above a hearse garage

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Grant Wood, painter of "American Gothic," lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at 5 Turner Alley from 1924 to 1934.

There, in 1930, he painted his most famous work, now at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The painting is smaller than you might think: it measures 25" x 30."

Woods (below, in his studio/home), who died in 1942 at the age of 50, was a prominent member of the American Regionalist movement.

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A friend let him live rent-free above his hearse garage.

Wood made the space even more rustic by roughing up the plaster walls.

He enlarged the windows and maximized the space by creating pullout beds, wheeled storage cabinets, and drawers attached to closet doors.

Terence Pitts, executive director of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, said in the New York Times, "He made himself a little peasant cottage with sunlight pouring in from all four directions, and he slept practically with his nose to the easel."

The museum owns and has been renovating the studio for the past two years, arranging original and replica furnishings there, including majolica plates, rag rugs and an easel specked with paint.

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The studio is open on weekends; admission is $5.

December 20, 2004 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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