'American Gothic' figures will look over Iowa fair

4/4/2014 11:30 AM
By Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The iconic figures in Grant Wood's painting "American Gothic" have taken up temporary residence at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

A 25-foot-tall replica of the farmer and daughter shown in the painting will remain at the fairgrounds in east Des Moines for the next six months, according to The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/QL8gE4).

Peter Cownie, executive director of the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation, said his father, Jim Cownie, and central Iowa businessman Bill Knapp paid $30,000 to lease the sculpture.

"We had to kind of act fast to be able to get it to the fairgrounds because it was going to head out to the East Coast," said Peter Cownie, who is also a state legislator from West Des Moines.

The 30,000-pound artwork by Seward Johnson was completed in 2007 and has been displayed in several locations, including Chicago, Dubuque and most recently at Simpson College in Indianola.

Iowa artist Grant Wood painted "American Gothic" in 1930, and it was first displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago. Over the years, it has become among the most recognized American paintings and has become entrenched in popular culture.

The sculpture was given a high-profile home at Pella Plaza.

"It's going to be a great photo location," State Fair spokeswoman Lori Chappell said.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com


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