Before the Dawn of Tom
BY Christopher Harrity
July 09 2011 4:00 AM ET
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.