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“Daughters of Revolution” by Grant Wood

"Daughters of Revolution" by Grant Wood

“Daughters of Revolution” by Grant Wood

“Daughters of Revolution” by Grant Wood is a satirical portrait of three women from the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). He emphasized the contrast of three aged women in faded dresses framed against the heroic painting of “Washington Crossing the Delaware.”

In 1927, Wood was commissioned to create a stained glass window in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

He was unhappy with the quality of domestic glass sources, and after traveling to Europe and conducting research, he decided to source glass made in Germany.

The local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) complained about using German sourced products for a World War I memorial.

Germany had been an enemy of the US in World War I, and the protests to the idea of German source glass grew. As a consequence, the window was not dedicated until 1955, after Grant Wood had died.

Wood disliked the DAR’s attitude and viewed the DAR as trying to set up an aristocracy of birth in a Republic. He believed that there was irony and ignorance in their objections.

To make his satirical point, his composition included the famous painting of George Washington that had been painted by a German American artist. The original version of this painting was acquired by the Kunsthalle Bremen, an art museum in Bremen, Germany.

(Note: Ironically, ten years after Grant Wood painted “Daughters of Revolution,” the original “Washington Crossing the Delaware”  was destroyed in an Allied bombing raid in 1942, during World War II.)

Wood depicted his mother’s clothing on the models in his portrait and included a lace collar and amber pin he bought for her in Germany.

Some critics have commented on these women’s juxtaposition and have argued that Wood did not depict actual women but men portrayed as women.

Wood called this painting: “A pretty rotten painting. Carried by its subject matter.”

Daughters of the American Revolution

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is a lineage-based membership service organization for women directly descended from a person involved in the United States’ efforts towards independence.

The organization’s membership is limited to direct lineal descendants of soldiers or others of the Revolutionary period who aided independence.

The DAR has over 185,000 current members, and its motto is “God, Home, and Country.”

Daughters of Revolution

Grant Wood

Grant Wood (1891 – 1942) was an American painter best known for his paintings depicting the rural American Midwest. From 1922 to 1928, Wood made four trips to Europe, where he studied art.

He studied Impressionism and post-Impressionism; however, it was the work of Jan van Eyck that influenced him to take on the clarity of this technique.

From 1922 to 1935, Wood lived in Cedar Rapids, where he helped found the Stone City Art Colony to help artists get through the Great Depression.

He became a great proponent of regionalism in the arts. Wood taught painting at the University of Iowa’s School of Art from 1934 to 1941. The day before his 51st birthday, Wood died of pancreatic cancer.

Daughters of Revolution

  • Title:                Daughters of Revolution
  • Artist:              Grant Wood
  • Year:               1932
  • Medium:         Oil on masonite
  • Dimensions    50.8 cm × 101.4 cm.
  • Museum:        Cincinnati Art Museum

Grant Wood

Grant Wood

A Virtual Tour of the Cincinnati Art Museum

Grant Wood: A collection of works

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“I had to go to France to appreciate Iowa.”
– Grant Wood

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Photo Credit: Grant Wood [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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