On View

The Birthplace of Herbert Hoover

Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines

The Birthplace of Herbert Hoover

Artist: Grant Wood (American, 1891 - 1942)
Date: 1931
Medium: oil on masonite
Dimensions:
Frame: 37 × 47 × 3 in. (94 × 119.4 × 7.6 cm.)
Image (visible): 29 3/4 × 40 in. (75.6 × 101.6 cm.)
Credit Line: Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Purchased jointly by the Des Moines Art Center and The Minneapolis Institute of Arts; with funds from the Edmundson Art Foundation Inc., Mrs. Howard H. Frank, and the John R. Van Derlip Fund, 1982.2
Accession number: 1982.2
Classification: painting
Label TextThough painted in 1931, there is no hint in this portrayal of the President's cabin birthplace in West Branch, Iowa, that an economic Depression was in full force across the country. Wood's farm scenes are lush and idealized, even the foliage of the trees becomes exotic and almost tropical in the artist's stylization. Wood was born on a farm near Anamosa in 1891 and was raised in Cedar Rapids. He received formal art training in Minneapolis, Chicago and, after World War I in which he served as a designer of foliage, in Paris. He taught in the public schools in Cedar Rapids until 1925.Wood co-founded an art school in Stone City in 1932 and two years later was named director of the Public Works of Art Project in Iowa, and also was appointed to the art faculty at the University of Iowa. His first lithographs were printed in 1937. Wood died of cancer in Iowa City in 1942. Source: Bulletin, September-October, 1982.
Inscriptionsigned and dated: Grant Wood | 1931 (bottom edge left of center)
Exhibition History"Commitment, Community and Controversy: The Des Moines Art Center Collections," Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa, January 24, 1998 - May 10, 1998

"Grant Wood: An American Master Revealed," Worcester Art Museum, MA, Oct. 6 - Dec. 31, 1996

"Ten Centuries of American Art," The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN, Feb. 4 - April 5, 1995, Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO, June 15 - Sept. 4, 1994; Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH, Oct. - Dec. 1995; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO, Mar. 10 - May 19., 1996; The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, July 6 - Sept. 22, 1996

"Grant Wood," organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN; (Circulated to: Whitney Museum of American Art, June 16 - Sept. 4, 1983; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Sept. 25 - Jan. 1, 1984; Art Institute of Chicago, Jan. 21 - Apr. 15, 1984; M. H. DeYoung Memorial Museum, San Francisco, Ca., May 12 - Aug. 12, 1984)

"Mid-America in the Thirties: The Regionalist Art of Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry and Grant Wood," Des Moines Art Center, Dec. 10, 1965 - Jan. 16, 1966
Published ReferencesPROLOGUE, (Quarterly of the National Archives), Vol.21, No.2, b/w ill. p.118

Karal Ann Marling, "Don't Knock Wood," ART NEWS, Vol.82, No.7, ref. p.95 & 99, color ill. p.95

Larry Woiwode, "Against the Grain," ART & ANTIQUES, Vol.VI, No.1, color ill. pp.80 & 81

"Mid-America in the Thirties: The Regionalist Art of Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry and Grant Wood," Des Moines Art Center, 1965, exh. cat. no.54

DMAC Bulletin, Sept./Oct. 1982

"Art Across North America," APOLLO MAGAZINE, Nov. 1982, ill. p.335

DES MOINES REGISTER, Mar. 30, 1982, ill.

MINNEAPOLIS TRIBUNE, Mar. 30, 1982, ill.

Jane H. Hancock and Samuel Sachs II, "The Modern Movement," APOLLO MAGAZINE, Mar. 1983, ref. pp.249 & 250, ill. p.250

Wanda Corn, GRANT WOOD: THE REGIONALIST VISION, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT and London, 1983, exh. cat. ref. pp.83 & 84, color ill. pl.11, p.85

George Tapley, "God's Eye-View," MIDWEST ART, Fall 1983, Vol. II, No. III, pp.26 - 29, 45 - 49, color ill. p.29

Jeff Perrone, review of MIA's Grant Wood exhibition, IMAGES AND ISSUES, July/Aug. 1984, ref. p.46

DES MOINES ART CENTER: SELECTED PAINTINGS, SCULPTURES AND WORKS ON PAPER, Des Moines Art Center, 1985, ref. pp.216 & 217, color ill. pl.XXXII, p.128

James M. Dennis, GRANT WOOD: A STUDY IN AMERICAN ART AND CULTURE, University of Missouri Press, Columbia, 1986 (first published in 1975 by The Viking Press, Inc.), ref. p.239, color pl. no.19, p.173 (mentions that the painting was purchased by Gardner Cowles from Ferargil Gallery in 1934)

Janet A. Simons, Donald B. Irwin, & Beverly A. Drinnin, PSYCHOLOGY: THE SEARCH FOR UNDERSTANDING, West Publishing Co., St. Paul, MN, 1987, photo credits and credit line on frontise piece, included in chapter six in article "Art and Life," pp. 145 & 146, color ill. p.146, artist's name index p.693

PROFESSIONAL CATALOG, BOOKS, FILMS, VIDEO, & NONPRINT, Grant Wood Area Education Media Center, 1988, color cover ill.

LAWNS AND GROUND COVERS, THE TIME-LIFE GARDENER'S GUIDE, Time-Life Books, Alexandria, VA, 1989, color ill.


"Travel Guide," Reader's Digest, 1994, color ill. p.162

OUR IOWA HOME (Supplement to multi-media program designed for Iowa schools), 1995, color cover ill.

DMAC News, Jan./Feb. 1995, p.4

"Grant Wood, An American Master Revealed," Davenport Museum of Art, IA, 1996, exh. cat. color ill. p.78

THE 1997 ANNUAL GIVING REPORT, The Herbert Hoover Presedential Library Association, 1998, color ill. p.10

AN UNCOMMON VISION: THE DES MOINES ART CENTER, Des Moines Art Center, 1998, ref. pp.34 & 291, color detail p.291, color ill. p.290

Richard Shiff, Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, and Heidi Colsman-Freybeger, BARNETT NEWMAN: A CATALOGUE RAISONNE, The Barnett Newman Foundation, Yale University Press, 2004, pg. 5

GRANT WOOD'S STUDIO: BIRTHPLACE OF AMERICAN GOTHIC, Edited by Jane Milosch, Prestel, 2005, ref. pp.

GRANT WOOD: THE BIRTHPLACE OF HERBERT HOOVER, Adventures In Art series, Prestel Publishing, 2005, pg.6

Haskell, Barbara "Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables", Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2018, color il. pg.134, ref pg. 23,54,55,73,249, 259.
entirely unexpected