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American Gothic: The Biography of Grant Wood's American Masterpiece Paperback – June 28, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
I would recommend American Gothic by Stephen Biel as the first choice but at least this one is cheaper.
Grant Wood's process. There is a lot of bio material
here about Wood and it is interesting to learn all
the facets about this particular painting. A well written
and enjoyable read.
I had seen the pitchfork many times—it’s a major feature of the 1930 painting, American Gothic, the international icon by Iowa artist Grant Wood. But I had never really looked carefully at it. This all changed when Thomas Hoving, former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, came to Iowa for a conference at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art in 2005. Hoving had just published his book, American Gothic: The Biography of Grant Wood’s American Masterpiece. The book cover features a picture of the famous painting. Hoving writes of the pitchfork that the farmer is holding: “… the metal coupling in which the wooden handle sits is oddly insubstantial; one smack on the ground and the fork would be off its handle.” (p. 17) After I read this, I looked at the picture again, and the pitchfork looked fine to me. It looked just like the pitchforks I remember as a child. The long wooden handle of the pitchfork, polished by years of working hands sliding along its surfaces, ended in three sharp steel prongs, kept shiny by the constant pitching of hay. The proportions seemed right. The three prongs seemed well-fastened to the coupling, which in turn was connected to a metal tang or shank that ran down the outside of the wooden handle for a distance of five or six inches, serving to hold the prongs securely. This was an additional reason to believe that the pitchfork would not fall apart in normal use.
Hoving went on to write about an optical illusion. He said, “Look at the trident where it meets the coupling. It bows either in or out; is convex or concave; is going toward you or away from you. The center tine cants either right or left as you look …” (pp. 17-18) This especially stimulated my closer examination.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a fabulous book about what is probably the most famous painting to originate in the United States. It is very detailed and must read for art history buffs.Published on May 3, 2013 by Preston S. Page
A different kind of biography, Thomas Hoving opens the door to the general public in this enchanting synopsis of Grant Wood's painting, American Gothic. Read morePublished on June 20, 2010 by G. Donahue
While it could be considered a flawed book that was cheaply produced, Hoving's ideas and insights are more than bright enough to overcome any mistakes. Read morePublished on January 3, 2009 by Joseph Butson