This exhibition featured works from the Museum’s significant collection of Iowa Regionalist, Grant Wood. Wood’s work celebrates the rolling landscape of rural Iowa and gives dignity to the seasonal labors of the farmer who works the soil. Wood’s work is also infused with a gentle humor that viewers can easily identify with.
Dubuque’s Grant Wood Collection was established in 1935 when the Carnegie-Stout Public Library, using a bequest of Mary E. Lull, purchased two important paintings: “Appraisal” and “Victorian Survival.” It was the first public collection in Iowa to acquire major works directly from Grant Wood. Throughout the history of both organizations, the Museum and Library have enjoyed a longstanding professional partnership. This relationship was capped in 1999, when, through a long term loan by the Carnegie-Stout Library, the Dubuque Museum of Art became the caretaker of the Woods and other paintings. The Museum was entrusted with the collection because they could “provide the best facility and opportunities for the community to enjoy these treasures.”
Other works in the exhibit came to the Museum through the generosity of Museum patrons, Dr. Randy Lengeling and Bob and Barbara Woodward. The exhibit included Wood’s early work, as a student exploring a variety of aesthetic models during his travels in Europe, his iconic and familiar Regionalist images of the Midwestern landscape and rural folk that he loved and respected, and the set of lithographs completed during the last four years of his life. Also included in the exhibition were whimsical flower pot sculptures, “Lillies of the Alley” composed of nuts and bolts found in Wood’s alley. Other objects in the exhibition included books illustrated by Wood and a brochure he published to advertise the Stone City Art Colony.