About the Artist
Grant Wood was born February 13, 1891, near Anamosa, Iowa, and spent much of his lifetime working and teaching in his home state. During his years there, he taught in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, public schools and, later, was a Professor of Fine Arts at the University of Iowa. He painted the familiar surroundings and everyday life of his nativestate and was one of the Regionalist group of painters of the American Scene. He once said that all the really good ideas he ever had came to him while he was milking a cow. In 1930, the Art Institute of Chicago purchased one of his most famous paintings, American Gothic, for $300.00, and he immediately received national attention. At the time, the painting aroused much controversy because some felt it insulted plain country people. However, it gradually grew in popularity and is now one of Wood's best known works. Parson Weems’ Fable was painted nine years later and was to be the first in a series of paintings portraying American historical myths. The second painting was to have been about the story of Pocahontas and Capttain John Smith.
About the art Grant Wood wanted to preserve the traditional American folklore represented in Parson Weems' Fable when, during a period following the Depression, some intellectuals wanted to do away with many of our American myths and folktales. In this painting, Wood wanted to help reawaken interest in the cherry tree and other bits of American folklore that are too good to lose.This painting presents Parson Mason Locke Weems pulling back the curtain to show us the legendary George Washington cherry tree story. The position of Weems' hand directs the viewer's eye to young George and his father. The gathering storm clouds seem to reinforce the tension between the father and son. The boy's head is borrowed from the Gilbert Stuart portrait with which we are all familiar because it also appears on our onedollar bills. In Parson Weems' Fable, the viewer sees a young George...
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