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Artist:Grant Wood , American, 1891 - 1942 Title:Fertility Date:1939 Medium:Lithograph on paper Culture: American Dimensions:8 7/8 x 11 7/8 in. (22.5 x 30.2 cm) Credit Line:Museum purchase with funds provided by the Friends of the Art Museum Accession number:1986.1.3 Label Copy: This print embodies an artistic response to the Great Depression with a new emphasis on one of the United States's core strengths: the country's fertile rural regions with their small towns and family-run farms. The artist himself came from the Midwest, and through his art he endorsed the moral values he saw embodied in this region. In Fertility, Wood renders simple, pared-down forms with great precision -a barn, a farm house and a tidy field with tightly-packed rows of corn stalks. Using a delicate stroke, Wood drew each blade of grass, each corn silk top and every curling leaf in the vegetation. There is a dramatic play of light and dark-the roof of the barn, the porch of the farm house, and the posts on the edge of the corn field are all cast in deep late-afternoon shadows that contrast sharply with the pure white architectural elements. This lithographic print was made for Associated American Artists, a New York firm that sold original signed prints at modest prices (five dollars per print in 1939) through a mail-order catalogue sent to households and museums. In the 1930s, the firm promoted the American Regionalists. Associated American Artists not only commissioned prints from Wood, but also negotiated contracts for him with big businesses. One was a series of Lucky Strike advertisements for the American Tobacco Company in Durham, North Carolina, which had hired seventeen American Regionalist artists to use their imagery to promote the product. Grant Wood died before he could carry out the commission.

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