The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

November 19, 2013

An original Grant Wood

ELDON — The American Gothic House Center can now say it houses an original Grant Wood piece.

The lithograph, "Fruits," is from 1939 and highlights Wood's use of the print medium, which was a result of the difficult financial times of the 1930s.

It also holds a connection to the center because Wood's sister, who was the model for "American Gothic," was instrumental in hand-coloring the lithograph series.

"It's in really great shape, better than what I expected, actually," said Holly Berg, American Gothic House Center administrator. "There's no yellowing or fading."

Originally, Berg says, the lithograph was part of a limited number of 250 prints and would have sold for $5.

"It's amazing that something from then could have been hanging in someone's parlor," she said. "They were making art that everyday people could afford."

A public reception will be held Friday from 4-6 p.m. at the American Gothic House Center. The lithograph can also be previewed by the public at the center from Nov. 22 until Dec. 31. Berg says the holiday season is the perfect time for the first showing of the lithograph, as families will be in town to visit the center.

The piece will not be placed on permanent display until April 2014, which gives Berg an opportunity to do more research and present the history of the piece and Wood in more ways than ever before.

The work was purchased with funds contributed by the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, the City of Eldon and John Deere Ottumwa Works.

In addition, a Wapello County Foundation grant has been used to purchase preservation technology that will help protect the lithograph. Berg says that the grant has helped them purchase a light meter and temperature and humidity monitor, both of which will help the center preserve the work, and any others they may receive in the future, in its optimum conditions.

For more information about the lithograph or Friday's reception, call Berg at 641-652-3352 or email TheAmericanGothicHouse@gmail.com.

 

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