The Iowa artist Grant Wood was one of the leading midwestern American regionalist painters. Created in 1939 after a three-year period in which Wood concentrated on lithography, New Road and its companion
Grant Wood painted New Road, along with its companion
“Grant Wood Completes Two Paintings for Arts Festival,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, July 16, 1939.
Brady M. Roberts, James M. Dennis, James S. Horns, and Helen Mar Parkin, Grant Wood: An American Master Revealed (Davenport, IA, 1995), 3.
According to a 1938 travel guide to Iowa, in 1919 a federally funded road building project was instituted that “provided for highway improvements, and advanced the cause of good roads.” A paving program was begun five years later, and by 1937 “there were 5,455 miles of paved highways out of a total of 102,533 miles of roads.” The author concluded that because of these improvements “Iowa has at last ‘come out of the mud.’”
Iowa: A Guide to the Hawkeye State Compiled and Written by the Federal Writer’s Project of the Works Progress Administration for the State of Iowa (Iowa City, IA, 1938), 87.
James M. Dennis, Grant Wood: A Study in American Art and Culture (New York, 1975), 159.
James M. Dennis, Grant Wood: A Study in American Art and Culture (New York, 1975), 157, 159.
Suspended somewhere between an agrarian past and a mechanistic future, New Road depicts the country as literally and figuratively approaching a crossroads, a fateful turning point between the calamities of the 1930s and what would prove to be the even more ominous, existential challenges of World War II. This interpretive framework suggests the significance of the sign to Solon in New Road, a reference to the classical Greek statesman and poet Solon who fought corruption and championed the rise of democracy in Athens.
August 17, 2018
lower left: c GRANT WOOD 1939
The artist; sold to Irwin [1880-1953] and Clara R. Sax [1889-1981] Strasburger, White Plains, New York, by 1944; bequest 1982 to NGA.
- Fine Arts Festival, Memorial Union, University of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, 1939.
- John Steuart Curry and Grant Wood: A Portrait of Rural America, Cedar Rapids Art Center; Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University; Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Missouri-Columbia, 1981, no. 148.
- America in Transition: Benton and His Contemporaries, 1920-1940, Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1985.
- Extended loan for use by Vice President and Mrs. George Bush, Vice President's House, Washington, D.C., 1987-1989.
- Loan to display with permanent collection, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, 1990-1991.
- One-Hundredth Birthday Anniversary Celebration, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, 1991.
- Barn Again, National Building Museum, Washington, D.C., 1994, no catalogue.
- Grant Wood: An American Master Revealed, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska; Davenport Museum of Art, Iowa; Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts, 1995-1996, no. 55, pl. 9.
- Illusions of Eden: Visions of the American Heartland, Columbus Mus. of Art; Palais Liechtenstein, Vienna; Ludwig Mus., Budapest; Madison Art Center; Wash. Pavilion of Arts and Sciences, Sioux Falls, 2000-2001, no. 9, repro. (shown only in Columbus).
- Walt Disneys wunderbare Welt und ihre Wurzeln in der europäischen Kunst [Disney's Wonderful World and its Roots in European Art], Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich; Helsinki Art Museum, 2008-2009, no. 90, repro.
- Grant Wood and the American Farm, Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Winston-Salem, 2016, no catalogue.
- Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2018, no. 95, repro.
- Garwood, Darrell. Artist in Iowa: A Life of Grant Wood. (New York, 1944) Reprint Westport, CT, 1971: 222.
- Dennis, James M. Grant Wood: A Study in American Art and Culture. New York, 1975: 93-94, 159, color pl. 36.
- Czestochowski, Joseph S. John Steuart Curry and Grant Wood: A Portrait of Rural America. Columbia, MO, 1981: fig. 148.
- Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. Rev. ed. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1988: 182, repro.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 384, repro.
- Roberts, Brady M., James M. Dennis et al. Grant Wood: An American Artist Revealed. Exh. cat. Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE; Davenport Museum of Art, IA, and the Worcester Art Museum, MA, 1995-1996. Davenport and San Francisco, 1995: 3, 73, color pl. 10.
- Stearns, Robert, et al. Illusions of Eden: Visions of the American Heartland. Exh. cat. Columbus Museum of Art, OH, 2000: no. 9, fig. 9.
- Haskell, Barbara, and Glenn Adamson. Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables. Exh. cat. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2018: 30, color pl. 95.
The support consists of a medium-weight, plain-weave, double-threaded canvas mounted on paperboard that the artist adhered directly to the smooth side of a Masonite panel. This Masonite is clearly original as original paint extends over the edges of the fabric onto the underlying Masonite. The characteristics of the paint application are otherwise identical to its companion piece
Infrared examination was conducted with the Kodak 310-21x, a platinum silicide camera with a 55 mm macro lens and a 1.5–2.0 micron filter.