“American Gothic” Homage Covers
Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” (1930)
“American Gothic,” painted in 1930 by Grant Wood, is one of the most familiar images in 20th-century American art and is frequently parodied in American popular culture. Grant Wood, best known for his depictions of the rural Midwest of the United States — and best known for “American Gothic” — was inspired by a house he passed by one day in Eldon, Iowa. The painting prominently features a stoic farmer, grasping a pitchforck, standing beside a younger woman, who is assumed to be his daughter, and a grandiose Gothic-style window. Interpretations of the painting are incongruous, though all seem to agree that the Gothic window is out of place. That the farmer and the young woman, whom many assume to be the farmer’s daughter, wear black, may indicate mourning. To reinforce the motif, the curtains of the home are drawn closed during the middle of the day, a long-standing custom in mourning. While it is not clear whom the farmer and daughter mourn, they may mourn the mother, as she is missing from the painting. The farmer and daughter are modeled after Woods’ sister, Nan, and his dentist, Dr. Byron McKeeby. Wood elongated the Gothic-style window for the painting, making it more prominent. The Dibble House in Eldon, Iowa, still stands today.