As many of you know, Grant Wood is one of the most renowned artists in the world and he grew up right here in Iowa. He has numerous pieces of artwork in museums across the globe, brought the art movement of Regionalism to the forefront, painted American Gothic and has his name on the Iowa State Quarter. Everyone already knows these facts about Wood, however there is new information that has come to light recently. After researching multiple pieces of Wood’s late work in great detail, Art historians at the Smithsonian Institute have verified this important detail about Grant Wood’s life that no one knew. Yes it’s true; Grant Wood was a Cyclone fan.
The leading art expert at the Smithsonian Institute, Dr. Mantis Toboggan made the discovery. "After closely studying his work, I’ve noticed that most of his artwork was of rural agriculture landscapes and none were of the law or medical fields. The closest example of Grant Wood painting an actual doctor was in American Gothic, where he used his doctor to model for his painting but had him pose as a farmer," said Dr. Toboggan. Dr. Toboggan also noted, "What tipped me off that Grant Wood was a Cyclone fan was the Cardinal and Gold I-State Overalls that he wore while painting."
With Grant Wood growing up closer to Iowa City and actually working for the University of Iowa, you would think of course he would be a Hawkeye fan. The University of Iowa actually did not appreciate the work of one of America’s most iconic artists. One professor even went as far as removing Grant Wood’s name from any association with the University. Grant Wood's soiled Hawkeye legacy | Grant Wood Colony.
This was not the case in Ames, IA. Then president at the time, Raymond Hughes, hired Grant Wood to design murals for the Iowa State Parks Library. This was done using a federal grant that provided work for unemployed artists. Grant then chose artists to help complete the murals by looking at their works exhibited at the Iowa State Fair. Each mural’s theme is a different college department at Iowa State.
Dr. Mantis Toboggan gave us a few more quotes at the end of our interview:
"It is very clear that Grant Wood’s collegiate allegiance was to the 9th ranked Iowa State Cyclones and not the 10th ranked Hawkeyes," Dr. Toboggan explained in closing. "Grant Wood was actually helping farmers by showcasing their hard labor and bringing attention to agriculture worldwide," "It’s really sad the University of Iowa didn’t support Grant Wood the way Iowa State did."
Lastly Dr. Mantis Toboggan showed us this inscription he found on the back corner of American Gothic.