World Treasures: Important Russian, European, Asian & American Works

June 16th, 2015

auction closed
Lot 418

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GRANT WOOD (American 1891-1942)
A Family Home - probably middle Amana -circa 1925-1928
Oil on artist board
Signed lower left GRANT WOOD
13 inches x 15 inches
Estimate:  $20,000 - 30,000   € 18,000 - 27,000
Price Realized: $47,500.00


Webb Shadle Memorial Trust, Pleasantville, Iowa

After seeing works done by Grant Wood similar to the offered lot, a struggling young artist from the Amana colonies, Carl Flick (1904-1976), contacted Wood and his humanity and humility are showcased in what transpired next. Responding to a letter that Flick wrote to the artist in 1929 Wood traveled once again to the Amana Colonies (near Cedar Rapids, Iowa) to meet the author of the letter. An account of this meeting was chronicled in a period Cedar Rapids Gazette newspaper article in which was written: "A few months ago, Mr. Wood received a letter from Carl Flick of West Amana. He wished information concerning proper brushes for painting foregrounds in landscapes. The well-known Iowa artist went down to answer the query personally. There he found, with no art training, no experience that had taken him beyond the peaceful valley where seven old fashion villages sleep, a colonist painting atrocious poster scenes with brushes dipped in genius. Grant pushed aside the vivid copies of gaudy sunsets and Venetian moonlights to show the young man the wealth of painting material that lay around him - the corner of the mill, his own back yard, the quaint blue doorways, the picturesque stone homes and the millrace fringed with pickerel weed and willows.”

The advice Grant Wood gave to Carl flick to paint what is in your midst was to become one of the rallying cries of regionalism and was of course the lesson Wood himself had learned after so many trips to Europe in his own search of art. In a letter written to an admirer in 1932, Flick wrote of his work; "It was then he (Wood) opened my eyes to the beauties of my surroundings and showed me how to sketch. Through Mr. Wood's influence I learned to see objects around me in a different light." What motivated Wood to respond to Flick's letter in person is unknown. One might suppose Carl Flick's simple upbringing in the Amana colony and his lack of any formal art education was the common ground, which generated the empathy that motivated Wood to seek out Carl Flick. Or perhaps the maturing Wood saw in Flick the perfect or purest candidate for his forthcoming Regionalist art movement. An individual raised with no outside interference from the material and modern world and reared in the heart of America. What is known from numerous period newspaper accounts is that Wood befriended Flick and indeed began tutoring him. He instructed Flick to paint the beauty of his surroundings and is recorded to have painted alongside Flick in the Amana Colonies. Soon Wood and Flick's works would be exhibited together and as Grant Wood's career exploded with the unveiling of "American Gothic", Carl Flick's works received more and more attention. Wood continued to paint in the Amanas with his painting "Young Corn" being executed there in 1931.

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