While much of the world is familiar with the rolling, green hills of Iowa through the paintings of Grant Wood, an exhibit opened this week at the Des Moines Art Center featuring works from the Iowa artist most people have never seen before. Senior curator Jeff Fleming says only a few of the paintings have been on public view before, and that was seven or eight decades ago. These were produced in the 1920s and are “early” Grant Woods, done before he developed his signature style. Fleming says the priceless collection of four Grant Wood paintings was a recent bequest from the estate of an Omaha woman. One of the paintings depicts the Iowa Capitol and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, two others are of Des Moines homes, and the fourth painting shows a Des Moines River landscape. While he is best known today for the painting “American Gothic,” Fleming says Wood was very influential in his day for his style of painting landscapes. Fleming says Wood “had a huge impact on art produced in the 1930s in an attempt to look at your own locale, to respond to what is around you.” The exhibit, “Grant Wood: Surveying Des Moines,” opened Friday and will be at the Art Center through February.
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