American Gothic, by Grant Wood, has always been one of my favorite paintings. Cliche I know, but I just love it. While in Chicago this past weekend I was able to see not only the original painting (1930) in the Chicago Institute of Art, but also a sister work of art from 2005 that mimics it nearby across from the famous Tribune Building.
I recently found out that the painting by Wood depicts a farmer and his DAUGHTER, not his wife like I always assumed, according to his sister Nan. He modeled the pair on his dentist, Dr. Byron McKeeby and sister; people he thought looked like occupants of such a house. The original building was in Eldon, Iowa and was painted from memory. The painting was submitted to the institute in a contest and won first place: $300 and a bronze medal. The museum purchased it shortly afterwards and it became one of the most widely published paintings of all history.
The nearby statue is of fiberglass and was created by J. Seward Johnson (the Johnson & Johnson heir). Measuring in at an impressive 25 feet high, the statue is called 'God Bless America'. Which do you prefer?