AMERICAN GOTHIC

Charles and Amanda asked me about my choice of painting in yesterday’s list. 

It’s too long to post as a comment, so here is my answer and some fun trivia about the work.

The painting is very special to me for several reasons.

I first saw it when I was at a very impressionable age. 

I love the irrelevance of the subject matter and all the myth surrounding it.  It was not intended by the artist to be a social commentary; he simply saw a house that evoked a sense of time and place in him.  He put the couple (his sister and his dentist) in because … well the house on its own would have been boring.

The symmetry of the composition is perfect, and the repetition of the fork motif is very clever.  (The embroidery on the man’s clothing, the windows etc).

Up close, the detail is exquisite; the lace curtain, the pattern on the woman’s dress and cameo; the treatment of the faces took my breath away.

 

Lastly, if you consider the work of Grant Wood’s contemporaries, Pollock, Rouault, Dufy, Durain et al, the discipline of his style dedication to classicism becomes remarkable.

For me, it is a forerunner to the pop poster and is the most parodied work of American art.

For more parodies, visit:

http://americangothicparodies.blogspot.com/

EDIT:

I just received this very funny one from Charles via email:

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34 Comments Add yours

  1. slpmartin says:

    Thanks for the explanation and history on the paintings…it was quite interesting to understand your selection…have a great day…by the way you seem to be posting a little earlier or am I just late going to bed?

    1. theonlycin says:

      It’s high summer here, Charles, the birds start early, as does the sun … makes sleep kinda difficult to achieve. It’s 4.50am now.
      Sleep tight.

  2. souldipper says:

    The history of the painting was interesting, Cin. The way it affected you certainly underlines the fact you have a great eye.

    One of my best friends is married to Jerry Davidson, Artist, http://www.members.shaw.ca/jerrydavid/
    Take a look at his paintings (to the left “view paintings”) and see Jerry’s rendition of dear friends of his who run a honey/beekeeping business in Alberta – titled Alberta Gothic. His friends did not know what Jerry was working on and were over the moon about the results.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thank you soooo much for the link, Jerry’s work is amazing. I love his Alberta Gothic and lookee his barnyard painting: I’m sure that’s my rooster rootling around that old truck!

    2. Jamie Dedes says:

      Great link. Nice work. He likes a play on words, doesn’t he?

      1. theonlycin says:

        He’s brilliant 🙂

  3. deepercolors says:

    I didn’t know there were so many parodies. Thanks. 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’ve just been sent another parody by Charles, hilarious and uniquely South African 😀

  4. nrhatch says:

    A recognizable painting that is ripe for parody. 🙂

    The subjects seem to be saying, “Life isn’t meant to be fun. It is to be endured.”

  5. I have never really noticed the house, the people seem to dominate the picture, made it so apt for the versions that have since appeared

  6. adeeyoyo says:

    Well all I can say is if, he was the artist’s dentist, did he dig around his mouth with his garden fork, lol! Jokes aside, the composition is absolutely spot-on! Lovely!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I just love it 🙂

  7. I love the picture, and the strange juxtaposition of the classical style and modern day subject matter. Coming from a place where one spends a lot of time staring at old ancestral paintings of variable quality, it is refreshing, but somehow the fine detail is also unsettling to me, and I can’t work out why.
    Thank you, Cindy, today you have broadened my world. I’ve never seen this before and now it’s time to go and ferret out some more of his work!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Enjoy Kate, I know what you mean about the unsettling bit.

  8. Supa says:

    I always think of The Rocky Horror Show when I see that painting.

    1. theonlycin says:

      That’s odd Supa ;p

    2. nrhatch says:

      One of the parodies on Din’s link is the Rocky Horror Picture Show version. Maybe you saw it one time, Supa.

  9. Tandy says:

    reminds me of the House of Usher 🙂

  10. buttercup600 says:

    I also didn’t know there were so many parodies..so very interesting Cindy…It was interesting to read about the origin and why you liked it…thanks for making it clear 🙂 Big hugs always xoxoxox

    1. theonlycin says:

      Big hugs back and good luck with that workload, I am missing your food posts and am worrying that you are not eating 🙂
      xxx

  11. Naomi says:

    Thanks for that bit of art enlightenment, Cindy – I am unfamiliar with it altogether. That SA parody is really funny 😀

    1. theonlycin says:

      I laughed out loud when I saw it 😀

  12. aardvarkian says:

    Its simplicity is its masterstroke; but its level of detail is surprising. It seems like a “regular” painting until you look deeper.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I see new things all the time 🙂

  13. Jamie Dedes says:

    Wonderful job on this. Love this work as well and is symbolic of our country (U.S.) in a way I don’t know it … farm country is alien territory for some of us, though much romanticized.

    Thanks for posting! 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      There is a local culture, now sadly falling away, that I like to think of as ‘Boer minimalism’ that echoes the pathos of this painting very closely.

  14. gospelwriter says:

    I have always loved that painting – hadn’t paid much attention to the parodies before, but they seem a sacrilege, in a way…

    1. theonlycin says:

      Sacrilege, perhaps, but still creates awareness of the original?

  15. Tokeloshe says:

    Very interesting.
    Good post.

    Wow! Love the link, thanks.

    1. theonlycin says:

      You’re most welcome, Tok 🙂

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