Coe College loans Grant Wood paintings to the Whitney Museum of American Art for spring exhibition

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Secretary of the College
(319) 399-8605 or rpritcha@coe.edu

2017-12-11 09:32:51 - General

For the first time in a generation, Coe College is loaning three large Grant Wood mural panels to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. The paintings will be part of a large exhibition entitled "Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables," which will be on display at the Whitney from March 2 through June 10.

The 1930 oil painting "American Gothic," arguably Wood's most famous work, will be the centerpiece of the Whitney exhibit, on loan from the Art Institute of Chicago. Featuring many of Wood's classic paintings depicting the landscapes of rural America in the 1920s and 1930s, the exhibition will include approximately 130 works.

To commemorate the Grant Wood art leaving Coe's campus, the college is hosting a special reception on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 5 p.m. in the Perrine Gallery of Stewart Memorial Library, where the murals are displayed. Assistant Professor of Art History and Director of Galleries and Collections Ranelle Knight-Lueth will share her experiences working with the Whitney as well as the process of loaning artwork and how Coe College was chosen. Also speaking will be Katherine Kunau, the associate curator of collections and exhibitions at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, which is loaning 27 pieces for the Whitney exhibition. The reception is open to the public at no charge.

"Coe's Permanent Collection rarely receives such recognition, and we are excited to have our Grant Wood mural panels be part of this exhibition," said Knight-Lueth. "It offers Coe and eastern Iowa in general the opportunity to share its artworks with a larger audience, and that's a very good thing."

The Grant Wood murals from "The Fruits of Iowa" collection specifically chosen by the Whitney for the exhibit include "Boy Milking Cow," "Farmer with Pigs and Corn" and "Farmer's Wife with Chickens." Some of these works went to the Whitney in 1983 as part of a traveling tour, and will be making their second appearance this spring.

The art will be carefully crated by specialists, transported and installed at the Whitney in the next few months. The Grant Wood murals will return to Coe for reinstallation after the exhibition closes next summer.

The Grant Wood art collection at Coe

In the Perrine Gallery of Stewart Memorial Library, 12 of the 14 works by Grant Wood owned by Coe are on display. The six large farm murals are entitled "Farmer with Pigs and Corn," "Iowa Farm Landscape,” "Farmer's Wife with Chickens," "Farmer's Daughter with Vegetables," "Boy Milking Cow" and "Farmer's Son with Watermelon." Along with the smaller mural, "Fruit Basket," these works constitute the heart of the Regionalism portion of Coe's collection.

Created by Wood in 1932 in oil on canvas, they are known collectively as "The Fruits of Iowa." The art was commissioned by Eugene C. Eppley for the Coffee Shop of his Montrose Hotel in Cedar Rapids. When the hotel changed ownership in 1956, the murals were lent to the college where they were prominently displayed in Stewart Memorial Library. In 1976, the Eppley Foundation graciously donated the murals to Coe.

Five smaller, yet significant works by Wood supplement these murals, including the charcoal on paper study of "Daughters of Revolution," some of his high school illustrations and an early landscape painting. The Grant Wood art can be viewed by the public at no charge during regular business hours at Stewart Memorial Library.

Coe College offers superb academics and exciting co-curricular activities in a thriving urban setting that promotes student growth and success. Established in 1851, Coe has a national reputation for academic excellence enhanced by a student-centered, highly supportive campus environment. Coe's vibrant Cedar Rapids location provides an abundance of internships for students and career opportunities for graduates.

Grant Wood, “Boy Milking Cow” - oil on canvas cutouts glued to Homasote fiber board, 1932, Gift of the Eppley Foundation, Coe College Permanent Art Collection, artwork © Figge Art Museum, Successors to the Estate of Nan Wood Graham. Photo by Mark Tade, 2005
Grant Wood
"Boy Milking Cow"
oil on canvas cutouts glued to Homasote fiber board
1932
Gift of the Eppley Foundation
Coe College Permanent Art Collection, artwork © Figge Art Museum, Successors to the Estate of Nan Wood Graham.
Photo by Mark Tade, 2005
Grant Wood, "Farmer with Pigs and Corn", oil on canvas cutouts glued to Homasote fiber board, 1932, Gift of the Eppley Foundation, Coe College Permanent Art Collection, artwork © Figge Art Museum, Successors to the Estate of Nan Wood Graham. Photo by Mark Tade, 2005
Grant Wood
"Farmer with Pigs and Corn"
oil on canvas cutouts glued to Homasote fiber board
1932
Gift of the Eppley Foundation
Coe College Permanent Art Collection, artwork © Figge Art Museum, Successors to the Estate of Nan Wood Graham.
Photo by Mark Tade, 2005
Grant Wood, “Farmer’s Wife with Chickens”, oil on canvas cutouts glued to Homasote fiber board, 1932, Gift of the Eppley Foundation, Coe College Permanent Art Collection, artwork © Figge Art Museum, Successors to the Estate of Nan Wood Graham. Photo by Mark Tade, 2005
Grant Wood
"Farmer's Wife with Chickens"
oil on canvas cutouts glued to Homasote fiber board
1932
Gift of the Eppley Foundation
Coe College Permanent Art Collection, artwork © Figge Art Museum, Successors to the Estate of Nan Wood Graham.
Photo by Mark Tade, 2005