Famous for iconic images of the rural Midwest such as American Gothic, Politics in Missouri, and Baptism in Kansas Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, and John Steuart Curry have long been lumped together under the rubric the Regionalists. James M. Dennis offers a fresh and sophisticated look at the modernist tendencies of this trio of American painters, arguing that the individual styles of Wood, Benton, and Curry were both mislabeled and misunderstood. Revisiting the artistic and political culture of America between the World Wars, he shows that critics and ideologues from Time Magazine to the Partisan Review pigeonholed, praised, or pilloried the Regionalists to serve their own critical intentions.
James M. Dennis is professor of art history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of Grant Wood: A Study in American Art and Culture, as well as of catalogs for the traveling exhibition Grant Wood: An American Master Revealed and for the Grant Wood collection of the Cedar Rapids Art Center.