Gothic Painting Essay

Gothic Painting Essay-36
In 1937, Thomas Craven wrote a far more congratulatory article for Scribner's Magazine, hailing Wood as "one of our most distinguished painters" (16).

In 1937, Thomas Craven wrote a far more congratulatory article for Scribner's Magazine, hailing Wood as "one of our most distinguished painters" (16).

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Still, Wood's popularity during the 1930's seems to be related deeply to the Depression; whether his paintings were perceived as simplistic and charming or as social commentaries, the landscapes and "gallery of American types" gave a sense of hope and grounding to people around the country during a turbulent time.Art Digest, in late 1942, gleefully hosted "The Grant Wood Controversy", a showdown between eastern critics and letters to the editor from the voices of Wood's popular support.Editor Peyton Boswell drew the lines of battle: "Grant Wood, and his fellow nationalists, did speak the language of their time and place, producing in the process art that had lasting historical value because it was an authentic, if not always great, art. America has been forced by fascist enemies into an all-out war for the democratic way of living, and in that fight most of us realize we are in a global struggle.To her, he was the "painter in overalls" who "hoisted his overalls on a stick to scare away the city connoisseur and the academician" (271).She admired his choice of subject matter, his belief in regionalism, and his American eschewing of the abstract in favor of the illustrational.In the Chicago Sun, Dorothy Odenheimer wrote that Wood was simply "a provincial whose vision was restricted in more than a physical sense to the rolling hills of Iowa.He had no taste, no sense of color, no feeling for texture..atmosphere, no smell of the soil, no wind in the air" ("Chicago Critic Attacks Wood's Art").Several pages into the essay, Pickering benignly condenses what academics and Eastern intellectuals came to dislike about Grant Wood by 1950: "His color is clear, his outlines unblurred, and his surfaces polished. His work is nearly always popular among simple people" (273).Pickering's main problem with Wood, it turns out, was that he didn't fit the image of the fiery, romantic painter--he is no mad Van Gogh or emotional Cezanne.Grant Wood's popular and critical rise was phenomenal; his fall, mercifully after his death, was meteoric.His early supporters cast him as the savior of American art, the man who would finally close the door against the strange cubist abstractions that were flooding from Paris into New York.

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