Auntie Doris’s Great Works of Art #6: Grant Wood – American Gothic –1930

Well, I wouldn’t much fancy going around to their house for a party, I’ll tell you that for nothing. Just look at their ruddy faces. My Raymond used to get people like that on his coach trips sometimes. He used to say things like “Cheer up, it might never happen” to them, until he found out that one old lass had terminal malignancy of the innards and was enjoying a last holiday whilst she could still walk. Even then, he told me that he thought that it wouldn’t have hurt her to crack a smile, after all, she was staying at a posh hotel near the seaside.
Any road these two look like they have been looking grim for so long that it probably would hurt them if they cracked a smile, and anyone who suggested otherwise would probably end up with a pitchfork up their back passage.
She’s a lot younger than him. Some people say that they are daughter and father and even that mother is laid out in a coffin inside the house, and that’s why all the curtains are drawn. I like to think that they are a couple. She might not have married him for his looks, but he must have some charm hidden away somewhere. Maybe he was the best farmer in the area for getting her beef dripping. It looks like he might go in for such carryings on in that cowshed next to the house.
She reminds me of my old friend Doreen Curdle, she looks a proper prickly type, but Doreen didn’t get like that until her husband got killed in the war. I think that this one just likes being prickly. It looks like she has grown some ruddy big cactus plants on her porch. It must be easier to grow cactuses in America than it is in Britain. I bought a Christmas Cactus after my Raymond died, but it didn’t last long into the new year. And I had it on the mantelpiece above the electric fire an’all. You would have thought that it would have been alright there. Maybe I didn’t water it enough. But I thought that they were supposed to store their own water, like camels.
The ones on her porch would have been a good deterrent to burglars in the days before house alarms though. Anybody snooping around the premises after dark would get a nasty shock if they bumped into a great big cactus like that. They would have been picking the prickles out of themselves for the rest of the week.
Of course, it was that arched window that attracted Grant Wood to the house in the first place. He said it looked funny having a window like that in a wooden house. It made it look like a ruddy church. My father would have approved.
The people in the painting never really lived there. He got his sister and his dentist to pose for it. When you know that, it stands to reason. Those glasses he’s wearing aren’t farmer’s glasses, they are dentist’s glasses. Still, glasses or not, I wouldn’t fancy having that miserable looking so and so pulling my teeth out, If I had any, that is.
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3 thoughts on “Auntie Doris’s Great Works of Art #6: Grant Wood – American Gothic –1930

  1. I agree with your sentiments – they definitely look a right pair of miserable chuffs! In fact I’ve thought that each time I’ve seen the picture and wondered why. Given the decade in which it was painted times were bound to be hard. ‘Appen crops failed – a bit like my outdoor tomatoes. Just sayin……..

  2. Sister and dentist? Wow I didn’t know that but now the picture makes more sense. Dentists always look a bit sour when they finally drop their toothy grin and the sister is probably just not too keen on posing with him. Thanks for enlightening me 🙂

  3. My old Ma was an artist, and could not abide this gloomy work. I think they were Fundy religious weirds with cactus on the porch to keep blind door to door salesmen away. She is his third wife, two ran off, with salesmen, one wore herself out cleaning up after calves, thus the pitch fork. They are grim because their dinner is getting cold as they pose. Working on my foul language, not using words like geezer or frump. Great post thanks Auntie.

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