Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables
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Glenn Adamson: This is a painting called Daughters of Revolution and that is a reference to the Daughters of the American Revolution heritage group that was very active in the early twentieth century.

Narrator: Glenn Adamson.

Glenn Adamson: Now, Wood had a run in with them a few years before he made this painting. It's often been suggested that it is meant to mock them, that it's like a piece of revenge on Wood's part.

But it's maybe a little bit more complicated than that. They're standing in front of this famous image by Emanuel Leutze, Washington Crossing the Delaware. So they have this print on the wall behind them. With the title on this handmade frame with the stars on it, that Wood himself designed, you could see them possibly as representing America in some way. Probably in a very conservative way, but nonetheless, a kind of national identity.

On the other hand, there's this funny prop that the middle of these ladies holds, this Willow ware cup. So a kind of Chinese-derived porcelain cup. She's clinging onto it very tightly with this kind of chicken-foot-like hand. Very tense. 

That's so typical of Wood. That he puts something right in your face and lavishes this care on it, but you don't know whether he loves it or whether it makes him afraid.


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