GRANT WOOD (1892-1942)

Tame Flowers and Wild Flowers: Two drawings

both, signed Grant Wood, l.r.--both, pencil and colored pencil on board
the first, 11½ x 15in. (29.5 x 38cm.);
the second, 11½ x 14½in. (29 x 36.7cm.);
both, 8½ x 11 3/8in. (22 x 29cm.) (sight) (2)
Gift of the artist
Maurice J. Liederman, New York
By descent through the family to the present owner

Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, Memorial Exhibition of Paintings by Grant Wood, Oct.-Dec. 1942

Lot Essay

Related Literature:
W.J. Petersen, ed., A Grant Wood Sampler, Iowa City, Jan. 1972, n.p., illus.
J. Dennis, Grant Wood, New York, 1975, p. 96, nos. 93 and 94, illus.
W.M. Corn, Grant Wood: The Regionalist Vision, New Haven, 1983, pp. 118-119, no. 144; pl. 27, illus.

In 1938 Grant Wood created four drawings of Wild Flowers, Tame Flowers, Fruits and Vegetables as designs for a series of lithographs to be published by Associated American Artists. Wood was interested in providing employment for his sister Nan and her husband, Ed Graham, who were out of work in California, by reviving the "old Currier and Ives process" of handcoloring prints. The Grahams painted a total of one thousand prints (250 of each image), which were sold with great success for $10 each through Associated American Artists' mail order catalogue.
The drawings and lithographs depart from Wood's still lifes of the twenties by focussing on local produce and flowers in geometric natural settings, rather than in impressionistic studio arrangements. Wild Flowers and Tame Flowers each appear on "its own jigsawed plot of earth, boasting of Iowa's abundant riches and beauties." (Corn, p. 118) Wood's impish sense of humour is evident in the toad greedily eying his prey, and in his affectionate evocation of the tidy Iowa housewife's well-ordered pansies and geraniums in their pots.

All four drawings were acquired from Wood by Maurice Liederman, founder of Associated American Artists. Fruits and Vegetables are now in the collection of the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth, and Wild Flowers and Tame Flowers have descended in Liederman's family to the present owner.

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