January

January

1940-1941

Grant Wood

(American, 1891-1942)

Oil on masonite panel

Framed: 67 x 82.5 x 7.5 cm (26 3/8 x 32 1/2 x 2 15/16 in.); Unframed: 45.7 x 60.1 cm (18 x 23 11/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 2002.2

Description

One of the last paintings Wood created before his untimely death from liver cancer, January has a decidedly nostalgic cast. According to the artist, the painting was "deeply rooted in the memories of my early childhood on an Iowa farm. . . . it is a land of plenty here which seems to rest, rather than suffer, under the cold." Signs of activity infiltrate the otherwise dormant scene: raccoon tracks at left, rabbit tracks at right. Wood’s composition weds these incidental details with abstract design, most notably through the rhythmically geometric array of snow-laden corn shocks that seem to recede infinitely into the distance.

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