Renegade Regionalists: The Modern Independence of Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, and John Steuart Curry

Overview

Famous for iconic images of the rural Midwest—such as American Gothic, Politics in Missouri, and Baptism in Kansas—Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, and John Steuart Curry have long been lumped together under the rubric the "Regionalists." James M. Dennis offers a fresh and sophisticated look at the modernist tendencies of this trio of American painters, arguing that the individual styles of Wood, Benton, and Curry were both mislabeled and misunderstood. Revisiting the artistic and political culture of America ...

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Overview

Famous for iconic images of the rural Midwest—such as American Gothic, Politics in Missouri, and Baptism in Kansas—Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, and John Steuart Curry have long been lumped together under the rubric the "Regionalists." James M. Dennis offers a fresh and sophisticated look at the modernist tendencies of this trio of American painters, arguing that the individual styles of Wood, Benton, and Curry were both mislabeled and misunderstood. Revisiting the artistic and political culture of America between the World Wars, he shows that critics and ideologues—from Time Magazine to the Partisan Review—pigeonholed, praised, or pilloried the Regionalists to serve their own critical intentions.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299155841
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1998
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

James M. Dennis is professor of art history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He is the author of Grant Wood: A Study in American Art and Culture, as well as of  catalogs for the traveling exhibition Grant Wood: An American Master Revealed and for the Grant Wood collection of the Cedar Rapids Art Center.

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Table of Contents

Illustrations
Preface
Introduction 3
1 "Direct Realism" Versus Modern Abstractions 13
2 "Direct Realism" Versus Mimetic Fantasies 37
3 Nationalism! 51
4 Fascism? 69
5 Grant Wood's Matriarchate 93
6 Tom Benton's "Girls" as Reverberations of Modernization 118
7 John Curry's Reactive Women: From Myth to Protest 143
8 Grant Wood's Affair with Abstract Art 173
9 Charles Demuth's Affair with Lancaster, Pa. 197
10 Charles Sheeler's Love of a New Industrial Region 215
11 Marsden Hartley's Return as a Nativist 233
Conclusion 244
Notes 249
Index 274
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