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Grant Wood: American Impressionist

June 14 - September 21, 2014

Grant Wood, Yellow Doorway, St. Emilion (Porte des Cloitres de l'Eglise Collegiale), 1924. Oil on composition board, 16 ½ x 13 in. Gift of Harriet Y. and John B. Turner II. 72.12.8
American Regionalist painter Grant Wood (1891-1942) only arrived at his “signature” mature style around 1930. In the remaining 12 years before his untimely death in 1942, Wood produced several seminal works, although his total output was limited due to his teaching at the University of Iowa and his role as Director of Public Works of Art Projects in Iowa. Before 1930, Wood was much more prolific, and the style he utilized was Impressionism, a stylistic movement begun in France in the 1860s which swept across Europe and eventually to the United States. American Impressionism was the prevailing style in the U.S. from the late 1880s into the 1920s. Characterized by loose brushwork, vivid colors, and an interest in the effects of light, American Impressionism influenced the young Grant Wood. He even painted the same locales time and time again, at different times of the day, during different seasons of the year, and under different weather conditions, just as the French Impressionists did.

With the world’s largest collection of works by Grant Wood, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art is well positioned to tell the story of this phase of Wood’s career. The exhibition traces the trajectory of Wood’s interest in Impressionism from the 1910s through to his dramatic stylistic change in the late 1920s, which was the result of a trip to Germany to oversee the fabrication of the stained glass window for the Veterans Memorial Building. The exhibition provides an enlightening look at this important yet overlooked period in the career of an American master.

This exhibition is made possible by Rockwell Collins and a Program Fund Grant of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.


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