Exerpt from January 18, 1943 Life magazine

Iowa's No.1 artist who died last winter gets big retrospective show in Chicago

Last February Grant Wood died. Last October the Chicago Art Institute put on a big retrospective show of his works, some of which are reproduced on these pages. No sooner had the Art Institute doors opened than the battle over Wood's paintings began again-a battle that had been raging among art lovers ever since Wood first returned home from Paris in 1929 to paint his stern-faced neighbors and the countryside of Iowa, where he was born and brought up. Those who do not like Grant Wood’s paintings are violent in their disapproval. Some critics contend that Wood had no taste, that his work was oppressive because of its coldness and lack of emotion. Others acclaim him as the great messiah of modern American art and place him on a pedestal as one who dared turn his back on French influence and dared paint the homely scenes of America's Midwest. Wood always regarded himself as an artist with something important to say about a variety of subjects. His Daughters of Revolution was his factual comment on an organization that was being generally criticized for being reactionary instead of revolutionary. His Death on Ridge Road sprang from Wood's desire to deliver a message on U. S. automobile fatalities. Though he had something to say about the Ancient Arabic Order of the Mystic Shriners and its behavior and collected much material on that group, he never got around to putting his words and ideas into paint. Yet for all the controversy that whirled about him, Wood remained, until his death at 50, a gentle and mild-mannered man little concerned with the opinions of the World outside those of Iowa. A neighboring farmer's approval of one of his pictures meant more to Wood than all the acclaim of worldly art critics,

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