Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables
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Narrator: Sunlit Studio depicts the single room in which Wood lived and worked—a tiny space up an alley in Cedar Rapids, which he shared with his mother and his adult sister, Nan. The family lived in such close quarters partly out of financial necessity. But Wood seems to have been quite content with this living situation. Certainly, the dancing, dappled sunlight here suggests that he was able to find great beauty there.

Wood’s paint handling in this composition is loose and thick. For much of the 1920s, Wood worked in this late-Impressionist style. He also traveled to Paris frequently throughout the decade, convinced that it was culturally superior to the Midwest. By the end of the decade, that attitude would change—and he would come to dismiss paintings like this one as being “Europe-y.”

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