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American Gothic (Grant Wood): Painting Parody

Updated on January 23, 2015
Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa has a B.A. in Fine Arts from Montclair State University and certification to teach all art subjects in K-12.

"American Gothic" was painted by Grant DeVolson Wood in 1930.
"American Gothic" was painted by Grant DeVolson Wood in 1930. | Source

What is American Scene painting?

In the 1920s in the United States, abstract art was “the” art of the American art establishment. Most artists, collectors, and museum curators thought of the abstract forms depicted in the paintings as best capturing the nature of the Jazz Age. Realism was “out,” and abstraction was “in.”

Anti-Establishment Artists

There was a small group of painters—Thomas Hart Benton, Edward Hopper, John Steuart Curry, Grant Wood, and others—who didn’t agree with the art establishment. They believed that realism was far from dead, and that it was America's answer to a search for a native style of painting.

Benton, Hopper, Curry, and Wood felt that a national style of art in the United States should show Americans at home and at work, in rural settings, doing ordinary, everyday things. Their art became known as the American Scene.

Who was Grant Wood?

Grant DeVolson Wood was born on February 13, 1891 near Anamosa, Iowa. A major proponent of the American Scene, Wood studied painting in Paris, France. After completing his studies, Wood returned to Iowa, preferring rural small-town life to life in a larger city,

Wood wanted to encourage talented artists to continue with their artistic endeavors, so he advocated the organization of competitions among the best painters in each region of the country. He felt that the outcome of such competitions would be the establishment of a national art.

In 1930, Grant Wood rose from relative obscurity as a regional painter to prominence when his painting American Gothic won a bronze medal at an exhibit organized by the Art Institute of Chicago.

American Gothic, a Controversial Painting

American Gothic aroused a storm of contoversy after it was awarded the bronze medal. Many viewers , especially Wood's neighbors in Iowa, considered the painting an insulting cariacature of the people living in rural Iowa. In time, these critics were won over.

The Models for American Gothic

The woman model for American Gothic was Grant Wood's sister, Nan. The man was a Cedar Rapids, Iowa dentist, Dr. B. H. McKeeby, a friend of the artist. While doing my research for this article, I saw a photograph of Wood's sister and Dr. McKeeby standing next to the painting.

Wood stretched his sister's face in the painting, making it longer and narrower. He did nothing to change the face of Dr. McKeeby. The dentist and the farmer in American Gothic look the same, long, narrow face and all.

The Inspiration for American Gothic

Many people think that Grant Wood's inspiration to paint American Gothic was the people in rural Iowa, but this is not the case. The painting was inspired by a house which Wood saw in southern Iowa—a low white farmhouse with a peaked gable and one Gothic window. Wood painted his people to match the house—with long stretched out faces to match the stretched out peaked roof and Gothic window.

HubPages Gothic

A parody is a work of art which ridicules or makes fun of an established work of art. You can read more about parodies and view several examples in my article What is a Parody?.

One of the examples in What is a Parody? is Mount HubPages, a parody I created of Mount Rushmore National Monument. For that parody, I used the faces of four HubPages authors.

I created HubPages Gothic, a parody of American Gothic, for this Hub. My models for the parody are two more of my HubPages author friends, Terrye Toombs (TToombs08) and Vinaya Ghimire (vinayaghimire).

If you have suggestions for famous works of art for which you would like to see me create parodies, please add your suggestions in the comments section at the end of the Hub.

This parody of Grant Wood's "American Gothic" was created by the author. The models used are HubPages writers Terrye Toombs (TToombs08) and Vinaya Ghimire (vinayaghimire).
This parody of Grant Wood's "American Gothic" was created by the author. The models used are HubPages writers Terrye Toombs (TToombs08) and Vinaya Ghimire (vinayaghimire). | Source

Do you like the painting "American Gothic" by Grant Wood?

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    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Paula,

      Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. I think I've seen more men who look like the man in the painting than I've seen women who look like the woman.

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 3 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      I can't tell you how many times I have referred to this painting in conversations. My husband used to work with a guy that looked just like the one in the picture and when I met his wife, it was like they stepped out of the painting.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Paul (pkmcruk),

      Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. My four-year degree is in Fine Arts. I've never liked this iconic painting, but I do find it a lot more interesting after conducting my research.

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 3 years ago from Cheshire UK

      That painting is so familiar to us even over here in Britain and it was fascinating to learn a little more about it and the inspiration for it. Thank you.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Mary,

      Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. I'm glad you liked my parody of Grant Wood's painting.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Keith (KDuBarry03),

      Thanks for reading and commenting in another of my articles. I appreciate your continued support. Which two look like a great pair?...Grant Wood's models or mine?

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      You are so creative with your parodies. This one is great, too.

      I need to "catch up" with your other ones. I voted this Hub UP, etc.

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 5 years ago

      Oddly, the two look like a great pair, Daisy! LOL

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Rahul,

      Thanks for reading and commenting in my Hub. I appreciate it.

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 5 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      Two of my wonderful friends up there... aah.. delightful..

      Full of info and detail ... and a very crafty hub

      Awesome

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Colin / Epi,

      Thanks for stopping by again. It's always a pleasure to have you visit.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      why I am in it. Daisy, I already told you - I am self-parody - aka Alfred E. Newman of Mad magazine -lol

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Colin / Epi (epigramman),

      It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for reading and commenting in another of my Hubs. I appreciate your support.

      You never know who is going to become one of my parody models, Colin...you never know.

      I published my sixth painting parody Hub today (July 6th)...Royalty: Painting Parodies. I hope you get a chamce to read it.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      love your parody series Miss Daisy ....but you can't do a parody of the epi-man's face because that is 'self-parody' in itself - lol lol - will post this beauty in our FB music cinema group and sending you warm wishes from lake erie canada time 1:10pm

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Dianna,

      Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. I've always thought that knowing something about the artist or the story behind a painting make the viewing experience more meaningful.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Great hub and such an interesting background on this portrait. I have always wondered what the background on this famous piece was about. Love your imposed pics also... so funny.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Rasma (Gypsy Rose Lee),

      Thanks for reading and commenting in another of my articles. I remembered seeing several parodies of American Gothic over the years, and I looked for some while doing the research for my article, Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any parodies that I could "legally" use.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      LOL This is also good. It brought back amusing memories of all the parodies which have been made of this particular painting. Thanks for an interesting hub. Enjoyed it. Will check out Mona Lisa. Passing this on.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Annie (Fennelseed),

      Thanks for reading another of my Hubs. I appreciate your commenting in the article and sharing it.

      When I look at the photograph of Grant Wood's two models standing next to the painting, I can see the elongation in the painting of Wood's sister's face, but the gentleman is another story. Dr. B. H. McKeeby really did have a long, narrow face.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Nithya (Vellur),

      I'm glad you enjoyed reading my article. The parody I did of Terrye Toombs and Vinaya Ghimire is one of my funniest. I'm glad you liked it.

    • Fennelseed profile image

      Annie Fenn 5 years ago from Australia

      This is quite fascinating. I love how Grant Wood used elongation of the couples faces to accentuate the long arched window. I really enjoy this style which I see as a mix of realism with a touch of humour. Also love your American Gothic Parody. An Interesting and informative, my votes to you, Daisy and sharing!!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      Interesting hub. Your photo is awesome. Useful and informative. A great read.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Vinaya, my friend, I can't help but smile when I look at the parody of American Gothic that I created with Terrye Toombs and you as my models. Terrye and you look so much better than the models that Grant Wood used.

      I'll be publishing another painting parody Hub early tomorrow which contains surprises for more HubPages writers

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Daisy you have wonderfully manipulated the pictures. I did not know about the artist. Thanks for this art lesson.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Aurelio (alocsin),

      Thanks for reading and commenting in another of my Hubs. You brought up an interesting point...the changing views and opinions regarding a particular object can cause it to go from being reviled by many to being admired worldwide,

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      It's interesting how many famous objects, like this painting, were once considered objects of derision. It's similar to the Eiffel Tower, which was once reviled, and is now a world icon. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      whonunuwho,

      It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for reading my Hub and commenting.

      I've written three painting parody Hubs and will be publishing my fourth one later today. If you haven't already done so, you might like to read my article "What is a Parody?"

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 5 years ago from United States

      As an artist and wildlife enthusiast I appreciate any work done about art in any form or fashion. This was a very nice hub and cute in the way you placed the faces on the original art piece. Keep on writing these kind of hubs.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Julie,

      Thanks for visiting again. I just went to Wikimedia Commons and found some paintings of Paul Gauguin's that I can use.

      I spent a month in Tahiti several years ago, and visited the Gauguin museum there. Creating the parodies will bring back many great memories for me.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Whatever you decide, I look forward to it :o) I love this stuff!

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Julie (Jools99),

      You are too funny, my friend. I thought about doing a parody of a Rubens painting, but I didn't want to have to deal with the problems that would ensue.

      Perhaps I could use one of Gauguin's Tahitian paintings instead. They don't have as much detail.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Martie,

      Thanks for reading my Hub and commenting. I've trying to limit my writing to a few different genre of Hubs. The reaction to my parody Hubs has been so positive, I'm planning on creating more of them,

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Terrye (TToombs08),

      Thanks for your very kind words. If I can ever find the time to do so, I plan on publishing a video Hub using Flash animation.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Christy,

      I'm glad you enjoyed reading my article and viewing my HubPages Gothic parody. I hope to publish another parody by the end of the day tomorrow

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Daisy, another informative and fun hub - I am worrying now about your possibly Rubineque parodies - just make sure they all keep their 'robes' on....hee hee

      Voted up!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 5 years ago from South Africa

      Well, I am speechless. I had to go read 'What is a Parody' before I could read this hub. As I've said, Daisy, I don't know much about art, except the fact that I like it and I want to be surrounded by it. So now I know where to find interesting information about American Gothic and other genres.

      Well presented, Daisy!

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Daisy, you and Mohan are some very creative individuals. I swear I learn something everything you experiment with a new technology or idea. :)

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      OMG the parady of HubPages is so funny! I like and vote up :)

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Mohan (Docmo),

      I have you to thank for getting me started creating parody Hubs. If you hadn't surprised me with your parody of "Daisy Mariposa with a Pearl Earring," I doubt I would have thought of starting my new series of articles.

      As you know, I have a four-year degree in Fine Arts, and I'm certified to teach all art subjects in the state of New Jersey from Kindergarten through the 12th grade. My particular interest is art history, especially the history of painting.

      That being said, do you know which school or style of painting I dislike the most?... It's the American Scene.

      And do you know which American Scene painting I dislike the most?.. It's American Gothic. I have such a dislike for American Gothic on an emotional level, I honestly and truly can't bear to look at the painting.

      Thanks for your continued support and encouragement. I appreciate it greatly.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Sherri (Sally's Trove),

      Thanks for reading my article and commenting. It's always a pleasure to have you comment in my Hubs. I'm working on more parodies and will be publishing another parody Hub some time tomorrow

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Terrye (TTooms08),

      I'm glad you enjoyed reading my article and viewing the parody.

      Thanks for being the perfect model.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Rebecca,

      It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for reading my Hub and commenting.

      My degree is in Fine Arts, and I'm certified to teach art in K-12. I've always tried to include information about the artist's background in my lessons. It adds so much to one's understanding of a given painting.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image
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      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Linda (Sunshine),

      I'm glad you enjoyed my parody of American Gothic. My "models" for this parody are perfect.

      I burst out laughing every time I look at HubPages Gothic.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Very good- I love the way you've composited TT and Vinaya onto this American classic. At the same time I enjoyed reading the history of this painting too, I didn't know about its past. Thank you for sharing. Well done, Daisy!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      The expression "content farm" comes to mind. :) Very clever! Up and interesting.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      lmao! What a way to start the morning! TOOOOOOO funny, Daisy! Great hub on the American Gothic Art movement, too! VUMS.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Interesting! I have always love those American paintings. Now you have taught me some nice background information on the painter and how his are was influenced .

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      The original photo is a classic. Your updated photo with Terrye and Vinaya is superb! Their expressions are priceless. Well done Daisy!