American Scenes Between The Wars: The Fine Print

Grant Wood: Shrine Quartet

Grant Wood (1892 - 1942)
Shrine Quartet, 1939
Hillstrom Museum, Gustavus Adolphus College

Born in Anamosa, Iowa, Grant Wood is best known for painting rural Midwestern life. Like Regionalists John Steuart Curry and Thomas Hart Benton, Wood infused his art with nostalgia, and often glorified the agrarian lifestyle. In his essay Revolt Against the City, Wood insists on rural inspiration and disparages technology as an alien encroachment. But Wood could be more critical of his Midwestern milieu than the other major Regionalists. Shrine Quartet is filled with inexplicable peculiarities, including the pyramids and camels in the background. The harsh lighting creates eerie shadows which recast an ordinary choral group as a collection of alien invaders.