1937, Grant Wood was asked to illustrate a novel that, like his
painting American Gothic, had already become a classic: Sinclair
Lewiss Main Street. Published nearly twenty years earlier
in 1920, Lewiss novel had come to represent the Midwest just
as Woods paintings symbolized that region during the 1930s.
Today Sinclair Lewis and Grant Wood still endure as cultural figures
who captured something distinctive yet elusive about the Heartland;
yet Lewis and Wood looked at the American Midwest through different
Lewis saw provincialism and narrowness, while Wood gloried in the
solid, earthy strength of his fellow midwesterners and their land.
Both men felt conflicted about their homes, and these dichotomies
filtered into their work. This publication explores the American
Main Street of both Lewis and Wood through the nine drawings Wood
created for the 1937 Special Editions Club book, Main Street, as
well as two self-portraits of the artist as a Midwesterner.
pages, Hardcover, Full Color, 8.5" x 10.25", © 2004