Grant Wood (1891 - 1942)
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An American painter best known for his paintings of the rural American Midwest, Grant Wood was born in Anamosa, Iowa and moved to Cedar Rapids in 1901. He was an apprentice in a local metal shop and attended Washington High School. In 1910, Wood enrolled in an art school in Minneapolis, returning a year later to teach in a schoolhouse. After two years of teaching, Wood attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, while working as a silversmith on the side. During his four trips to Europe, where he studied Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, Wood was most inspired by the 15th-century Flemish artist Jan van Eyck. Wood helped found the Stone City Art Colony in 1932 and became a proponent of regionalism in the arts. From 1934 to 1941, Wood taught painting at the University of Iowa's School of Art. He worked in a variety of media, including ink, charcoal, ceramics, metal, wood, lithography, and found objects. To ensure a steady income for himself, Wood painted advertisements and sketches for many Iowa-based businesses. Wood's best known painting is his 1930 American Gothic, one of the most famous paintings in American art.