Continuing with Regionalism, Kristin sprinkled in some Curry and Wood as time ran out on our lecture.
John Steuart Curry depicts various religious groups that set up tents and convert people to their version of Christianity – a la “Elmer Gantry” the movie with Burt Lancaster which did a superb job of emitting this fever pitch power trip of a preacher with a huge ego.
This painting is called Baptism in Kansas, 1928. Notice the gentrified persons, the painted barn and standing windmill. Later on, with the drought that had changed the landscape and people’s lives, artists painted the same scene barren and unkempt.
Curry is close friends with Grant Wood who painted American Gothic.
Kristin told us the real story behind the famed faces in stoic poses. It seems Wood used his sister and the local dentist as his models. His original idea was to paint a father with his spinster daughter. The window and architecture of the house in the painting is American painting Gothic style and his initial idea was to show what kind of people would live in that type of architecture.
“When viewing the painting, it is important to realize the extent to which Wood designed and conceptualized American Gothic.” – off the internet.
What Kristin explained and pointed out was the details. For example, the feel of the people is one of cautiousness, not welcoming on the man’s part. The pitchfork stands between you and the image. The lines of the farm tool are repeated in the man’s shirt. The woman’s head is egg-shaped to mimic the patterns on her dress and cameo brooch.
This painting is without a doubt the most parodied work of all time.
And with this, we headed over to WWII and Abstract Expressionism, the following week……