Letters, articles, and photographs detailing the life of Iowa’s most famous artist are now available online. The Figge Art Museum in Davenport and University of Iowa Libraries have joined forces to digitize scrapbooks Nan Wood Graham compiled about her brother, Grant Wood.
The Figge’s Andrew Wallace says now anyone, anywhere in the world, can study Wood’s life, without having to travel to Iowa. “And all those clippings give you an excellent view into life in the 1930’s particularly, and sort of the local reaction to their celebrity artist son in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City,” Wallace says.
Wallace says they began scanning the scrapbooks about five years ago when it became obvious they were in dire need of conservation.
“That is largely due to the materials which Nan used to put them together — which anybody would have used — which would be a commercially available scrapbook, Wallace explains. “Using cellophane scotch tape, rubber cement or things like that which conservators have found over time begin to degrade the materials to which they are attached.”
Nan Wood not only kept scrapbooks chronicling her brother, she was also the model for the woman in his famous American Gothic painting. The Grant Wood Archive at the Figge has provided key material for numerous catalogs and articles through the years, and most recently for the 2010 biography by R. Tripp Evans, “Grant Wood – a Life.”
For access to the archive, go to the museum’s website:www.figgeartmusem.org.