Farm Living Is the Life for Me

13 Covers That Borrow a Pose or Two From Grant Wood’s American Gothic

Some fun facts you might not know about one of the most famous paintings in American art:

  • Grant Wood (1891-1942) was inspired to create the painting by the American Gothic house in Eldon, Iowa, after imagining “the kind of people I fancied should live in that house.” He was particularly struck by the incongruity (and even absurdity) of having a Gothic-style window in a flimsy frame house.
  • The models for the farmer and his daughter in the painting were his sister and their dentist.
  • Wood entered the painting in a competition at the Art Institute of Chicago. The judges deemed it a “comic valentine,” but a museum patron persuaded them to award the painting the bronze medal and a $300 cash prize.
  • Everyone has read just about every interpretation into the painting; some see it as a commentary on closed-minded provincialism while others proclaim it a celebration of the American pioneer spirit.
  • Comic cover artists have sometimes borrowed the painting’s form to inject a little irony into their work, often using their interpretations of the painting to create a fun contrast between domestic and steadfast ideals and… well, see for yourself: