The Models that Inspired the Famous Painting “American Gothic”

I love this!  In 1930, artist Grant Wood painted the now famous “American Gothic”.  The iconic image features a husband and wife with stern and expressionless faces standing in front of a typical farmhouse.  The painting has since been adorning the walls of dining rooms and cafeterias across the U.S.

What you may not know is that there were real people who stood in as models for the gloomy couple.  Wood recruited his sister and his dentist to fill the roles.  In a striking photo that has surfaced, the models can be seen posing with their artistic likenesses.  They both maintain the sternness of face that has been immortalized by Wood’s work.

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The article accompanying this photo in a 1942 press clipping stated:

On show with the late Grant Wood’s American Gothic, one of the most famed U.S. paintings of its generation, went the models who posed for it, Nan Wood Graham, the painter’s sister, wife of an oil-station operator, and Dr. B. H. McKeeby, a dentist. Occasion was the first showing of the picture in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where Wood painted it twelve years ago.

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