Grant Wood was part of the Regionalist movement which strove to steer away from the European style of art and subjects and focused on local American rural subject matter such as austerity, community, and hard work.
His passion for art grew at the Cedar Rapids school, and he started entering contests in 1905. After winning the third position in a national contest, he decided that he would become a professional artist.
After completing school, Wood attended a summer program that was taught by Ernest A. Batchelder, a notable exponent of the Arts and Crafts movement, and he also studied life drawing under Charles Cumming.
After the war, he went on to teach art at a Middle School, emphasizing cooperation and the link between artistic work and community. In 1925, Wood quit teaching to devote his complete attention to his painting.
Wood’s themes were based on regional tropes – farmland owners, chatty old women, small-town financiers, masons, and so on – but he portrayed them with fondness and humor, instead of the hatred prevalent in the literature of the time.
Wood’s status quickly rose from that of a regional jack-of-all-trades to that of a nationwide established Regionalist artist. In 1930, American Gothic (1930) was awarded a medal in the Art Institute of Chicago’s yearly event.
Wood is still regarded as one of the most beloved and divisive American Regionalist artists. American Gothic (1930), possibly the most recognizable piece of contemporary American art, as well as the most imitated, is also outstanding.