Iowa State University nameplate

Inside Iowa State
Gold bar
January 16, 2004

Grant Wood's Main Street drawings on display at Brunnier

Between 1935 and 1937, Grant Wood created nine drawings to illustrate a special edition of Sinclair Lewis' Main Street.

Those drawings and a first edition of the book will be on display through Aug. 6 at the Brunnier Art Museum.

Wood specified the book's tan rag paper and blue and yellow linen binding, which complemented the colors he used in his drawings (done in pencil, charcoal, crayon and gouache on brown wrapping paper). The edition was limited to a print run of 1,500, and each book was signed by the artist.

Wood's illustrations feature seven major characters and two specific places portrayed in the book. Art historian Wanda Corn said the illustrations show "the sort of small town types that might exist anywhere in provincial America."

Iowa artist Wood addressed the essence of the Depression era and Midwest in his works depicting landscapes and people. Near the height of his popularity in 1933, Wood became the Iowa director of the Federal Public Works for Art Project. In 1936, Wood directed the creation of the mural "Breaking the Prairie Sod," located in the Parks Library.

The Brunnier has produced a new publication, Grant Wood's Main Street: Art, Literature, and the American Midwest, to accompany the exhibit. The 242-page publication includes more than 80 illustrations and 12 color plates. The publication ($45) is available at the Brunnier Art Museum store.

Several programs at the Brunnier also will revolve around the "Grant Wood's Main Street" exhibit. Check the calendar for dates.

Grant Wood drawing Grant Wood drawing

Grand Wood drawing
Grant Wood drawing Grant Wood drawing

Photos by Bob Elbert. Reproduced with permission of the Easton Press.

... Becoming the Best
Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
Copyright © 1995-2003, Iowa State University. All rights reserved.