Before the Dawn of Tom

Tom of Finland is unarguably the most well-known gay erotic artist of the 20th century, but paving the way for his all-balls-out art was a group of American artists who created a more subtle, coded visual style.

BY Christopher Harrity

July 09 2011 3:00 AM ET

WOOD AMERICAN GOTHIC X560 | ADVOCATE.COM

Grant Wood
February 13, 1891 – February 12, 1942

Wood is the creator of one of the most widely reproduced and parodied, and generally misinterpreted, artworks in America. American Gothic was intended as an ironic view of small-town, small-minded American life. His story of  lifelong repression of his homosexuality borders on tragic, but his orientation always ended up revealing itself, sometimes to his chagrin. Romantic portraits of his cherished studio assistants, with symbolist touches, and bulky muscular renderings of local ranch hands and farm boys told the real truth of this revered American icon.
 

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