February 13, 1891: Birth of Grant Wood

“The persons in the pAmerican Gothicainting, as I imagined them, are small town folks, rather than farmers. Papa runs the local bank or perhaps the lumber yard. He is prominent in the church and possible preaches occasionally. In the evening, he comes home from work, takes off his collar, slips on overalls and an old coat, and goes out to the barn to hay the cow. The prim lady with him is his grown-up daughter. Needless to say, she is very self-righteous like here father. I let the lock of hair escape to show that she was, after all, human.
These particulars, of course, don’t really matter. What does matter is whether or not these faces are true to American life and reveal something about it. It seemed to me that there was a significant relationship between the people and the false Gothic house with its ecclesiastical window.
Incidentally, I did not intend this painting as a satire. I endeavored to paint these people as they existed for us in the life I knew. It seems to me that they are basically solid and good people. But I don’t feel that one gets at this fact better by denying their faults and fanaticism.
In general, I have found, the people who resent the painting are those who feel that they themselves resemble the portrayals…

This Midwestern farm country is in my blood. By build and by disposition, I am a prairie schooner.”

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