Why grant wood’s American gothic painting is parodied and Ben Shawn’s Rural rehabilitation client (1935) photo isn’t.
Creator of the American Gothic, Grant DeVolson Wood was born in 1981 on a farm in Iowa. When he finished high school in 1910, He he went to the Minneapolis School of Design were for a short time he studied Handicraft and Normal Art he also studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Later he took several trips to Europe. In Europe he studied many different types of styles of painting, specifically Impressionism and post-impressionism. Wood was influenced mainly by the 15th-century Flemish artist Jan van Eyck. The inspiration of one of Woods earlier paintings the American Gothic was found when he was walking around his hometown in Iowa. He came across a house that made him speech less. This is what led to his most famous work. Along with his painting Wood also became famous. This fame helped him to thrust the Regionalist movement in to the limelight. The Regionalist movement also known as the
American Regionalism “it is an American realist modern art movement that included paintings, murals, lithographs, and illustrations depicting realistic scenes of rural and small-town America primarily in the Midwest and Deep South”. Wood lived a life creating art and also educating others a bout art. In February 12, 1942, in Iowa city, Iowa Wood died.
Ben Shahn was born to Joshua Hessel and Gittel Shahn in Kaunas, Lithuania. It was part of the Russian Empire at the time. Shahn, his two siblings and his mother after his father for suspicions of taking part in revolutionary activities was exiled from Siberia in 1902. Because of this his family immigrated to the United States there they grouped up with Hessel. They journeyed to the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn in New York. There they got a home and two of Shahn’s siblings were born. Shahn started his artistic journey before the start of world war 2. Shahn practiced art in social realism. Social realism is “work produced by painters, printmakers, photographers, writers and filmmakers that aims to draw attention to the real socio-political conditions of the working class as a means to critique of the power structures behind these conditions.” (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_realism). Shahn in contrast to what shahn himself called the rules for pure art. In an attempt to instruct readers on his work Shahn would routinely add texts, words, and quotations into his artwork. To try to form a bridge between fine art and mainstream media with his art, Shahn would bring together many contradicting styles of artistic cultures.
After the completion of Grant Wood’s American Gothic, a gigantic looming cloud of depression suffering debt and depression came over the entire country. It trusted the countryside and the people who lived their into a sort of grey and tragic life. This is known as the Great Depression. It was economic chaos. It affected almost every country. In 1929 the stock market crashed in America. It is thought to be the root cause of the start of the Great Depression because by 1933 their were millions of Americans who suddenly saw themselves homeless, jobless, leading to the their degradation of their quality of life. They couldn’t afford food, and plenty of other basic necessities. Things got even worse for the people living in the countryside when during the 1930s their was a series of dust storms known as the Dust Bowl.
They were responsible for destroying large parts of the Southern Great Plains.
During the Great Depression farmers like the ones depicted in grant wood’s American gothic painting is parodied and Ben Shawn’s Rural rehabilitation client (1935) were unable to rely on their farmlands as they did previous before. Their whole life depended on producing and selling food, but since not many people was buying their food, their time during the Great Depression was Immensely worse than the rest of the people in the country. Their farms landed in foreclosure. So they and the people around them who relied on the food they produced. On top of this their was no other job they could have. So it’s easy so see why the people depicted in the paintings and photos could have a facial expression that’s so bleak and hopeless were they seem as if they rather not be living. Through his photos Ben Shahn a man with a strong desire for social injustice, through his brilliantly shows the dire situation. American Gothic and Rural Rehabilitation Client are pretty similar in nature they both depict a straight faced man and woman. Both of them dress in what looks like their best attire. The the photos and painting it shows that compared to everyone else they are limited in the things they own and the things they can do even for Great Depression Times.
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