Artist in Overalls Life of Grant Wood by John Duggleby


Artist in Overalls Life of Grant Wood by John Duggleby

The renowned painting American Gothic is famous around the world, but what do we know about the artist? This lively biography follows Grant Wood as he develops from a shy farm boy into a celebrated artist. This is the first published biography of this American artist specifically geared to young readers. It is complete with an instructional afterword to help young artists learn to draw and a listing of museums where Grant Wood's work can be seen.



May 1996 The most famous American painting may be Wood's American Gothic, with its weathered, pitchfork-holding farmer and an aproned wife. Readers meet the mid-Western farm boy who studied art in France and Germany, but always returned to America's heartland. His style was clean and photographically precise his landscapes .. .real--and not quite real--at the same time. Critics called his style Regionalism and began to notice and celebrate American painters. Duggleby's title is fittingly large and square, with cover and endpapers decorated with cows, chickens, and farm implements. Wood's painting's are beautifully reproduced, most in full color, and the wide margins, decorated chapter headings, and clear typeface make the book a pleasure to read. The author write's with great skill telling Wood's story not simply with dates and places, but with anecdotes, descriptions, and snatches of conversation. He brings the artist to life--his shyness and stubborness, his dreams and disappointments, his way of winning friends and his determination to paint in his own way. He makes Wood out to be a person worth knowing and knowing about. Few books, if any, are available on the subject. This gem of a book is marred only by a lack of documentation. -- BOSTON BOOK REVIEW,

a biography of the great American artist Grant Wood, is about integrity and perseverance. Wood was born on a farm in Iowa; his childhood, while poor in the economic sense, was rich in rolling fields, beautiful woods, and those amber waves of grain --a phase that fits Wood's paintings exactly. Wood began to draw at an early age. Lacking materials, he took charrred pieces of wood from the kitchen stove and drew on the clean white insides of cracker boxes. He drew everything he knew--the wavy fields, chickens, streams, whatever he saw. After his father died, and his family moved to town, Wood often traveled miles in the evening to take art courses. In early adulthood, he once simply showed up in an art class at the University of Iowa and, since no one inquired as to his right to be there he stayed. In addition to poverty, Wood had to withstand criticism from friends and family for not looking for honest work. He was eventually hired to teach art by a school principal. Although aware that his was an unconventional teaching style, she realized that Wood was imparting something immeasuraable to his student. During a subsequent trip to Paris, he was exposed to Impressionism, which, however, failed to sway him. Visiting a museum he experienced an epiphany of sorts, realizing that the clean lines of Gothic art were what he was seeking. Out of this relization came two paintings--Woman with Plants and American Gothic--which established his

About the Author

John Duggleby was born and raised in the rolling hills of lowa where Grant Wood lived and painted, and he studied journalism at the University of lowa, where Grant Wood taught. John lives with his four year-old daughter, Katie, in McFarland, Wisconsin. This is his fifth book for children.

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Book Info


48 pages
Interest Age: 8-12+


John Duggleby
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Chronicle Books

Publication date

27th June 1996



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