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The Story Behind Grant Wood's 'American Gothic'

The Grant Wood painting American Gothic is a touchstone of American culture, depicting an upright Midwestern family on the farm. The story behind the painting is the subject of Thomas Hoving's book American Gothic: The Biography of Grant Wood's American Masterpiece. A native of Iowa, Wood and his paintings were rooted in the Midwest. His style, however, owed something to the realism of 15th-century northern European artists. Susan Stamberg interviews Hoving, already a best-selling author and once the director of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, about his exploration into Wood's most famous painting.

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