In his early landscapes, Grant Wood recast the farmscape of his childhood into an Arcadian fantasy of undulating, swollen shapes and decorative embellishments whose multiple focal points keep the viewer’s eye in constant motion by giving all parts of the composition equal weight.
Young Corn, by Grant Wood, 1931, oil on composition board, 24 x 29⅞ inches, Cedar Rapids Community School District, Iowa; on loan to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Iowa A detail of this painting was used for the Iowa Sesquicentennial Stamp
Grant Wood’s landscapes do not depict Midwestern farm life in the 1930s. Instead, they portray his idealized memories of the 1890s farm in Anamosa, Iowa, where he lived as a young boy before moving to Cedar Rapids with his family following the death of his father. His desire was not so much to portray a world that was becoming extinct as to recover a mythical childhood that existed only in his imagination.