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American Gothic

Painting of a woman and an older white man holding a pitchfork, both seen from the waist up. They stand side by side with stern expressions, in front of a white house with a peaked roof.

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  • Painting of a woman and an older white man holding a pitchfork, both seen from the waist up. They stand side by side with stern expressions, in front of a white house with a peaked roof.

Date:

1930

Artist:

Grant Wood
American, 1891–1942

About this artwork

In American Gothic, Grant Wood directly evoked images of an earlier generation by featuring a farmer and his daughter posed stiffly and dressed as if they were, as the artist put it, “tintypes from my old family album.” They stand outside of their home, built in an 1880s style known as Carpenter Gothic. Wood had seen a similar farmhouse during a visit to Eldon, Iowa.

When it was exhibited at the Art Institute in 1930, the painting became an instant sensation, its ambiguity prompting viewers to speculate about the figures and their story. Many understood the work to be a satirical comment on midwesterners out of step with a modernizing world. Yet Wood intended it to convey a positive image of rural American values, offering a vision of reassurance at the beginning of the Great Depression.

Status

On View, Gallery 263

Department

Arts of the Americas

Artist

Grant Wood

Title

American Gothic

Place

United States (Artist's nationality)

Date

1930

Medium

Oil on Beaver Board

Inscriptions

Signed and dated lower right on overalls: GRANT / WOOD / 1930

Dimensions

78 × 65.3 cm (30 3/4 × 25 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Friends of American Art Collection

Reference Number

1930.934

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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