A museum in Des Moines now has four “undiscovered” paintings by Iowa’s most famous artist. Des Moines Art Center marketing director Mike Crall says the works by Grant Wood were commissioned early in the 20th century by the owner of Dunn Brothers, a central Iowa funeral home. A painting was given to a member of the Dunn family by the state funeral association, and he liked it so much he paid the artist to paint several more, which eventually wound up at a funeral home in Omaha. Now that the last owner has died, the paintings are being returned to Iowa. Crall says you wouldn’t recognize the interior and outdoor scenes as “typical” Grant Wood paintings if you’re familiar with his style. You won’t be able to visit the Art Center any time soon to see the paintings because the paintings need to be conserved and cleaned.Crall says the age of the paintings is the main reason you won’t see a resemblance to “American Gothic.” Crall says Wood had traveled to Europe in the 1920s, and the four paintings have more of an impressionist look than the regional style Wood made famous.The four paintings, given to Des Moines’ Art Center by the daughter of an Omaha funeral director include a picture of trees by the Des Moines River, the Soldiers’ Monument near the state capital, and an outdoor and interior picture of Dunn’s Funeral parlor, the patron that commissioned the paintings early in the 1920s.
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