American Gothic, Grant Wood, 1930
Grant Wood (1891-1942) was a European-trained American painter who created one of the most famous, and most often parodied, images of American art in the 20th Century. Wood noticed a small house in Eldon, Iowa that was built in the Gothic Revival style and decided to paint the house and "the kind of people I fancied should live in that house". Wood used his dentist, Dr. Byron McKeeby, as inspiration for the man and had his sister Nan model for the woman. The house, man and woman were all painted separately. The woman in American Gothic is either the wife or spinster daughter to the farmer she stands next to. The pitchfork the man is carrying symbolizes hard labour and is echoed in the stitching of his overalls. The flowers depicted over the shoulder of the woman suggest domesticity and the apron she is wearing is a colonial floral print reminiscent of 19th century Americana. American Gothic is thought to either be a satire of small-town American life or the glorification of the moral rectitude of rural America. Many Iowans were upset at their depiction as what they perceived to be "pinched, grim-faced, puritanical Bible-thumpers ".