Grant Wood’s Secrets

Cover: Grant Wood’s Secrets
Sue Taylor

February 2020 • ISBN 978-1-64453-165-5 • $56.50

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Incorporating copious archival research and original close readings of American artist Grant Wood’s iconic as well as lesser-known works, Grant Wood’s Secrets reveals how his sometimes anguished psychology was shaped by his close relationship with his mother and how he channeled his lifelong oedipal guilt into his art. Presenting Wood’s abortive autobiography “Return from Bohemia” for the first time ever, Sue Taylor integrates the artist’s own recollections into interpretations of his art. As Wood dressed in overalls and boasted about his beloved Midwest, he consciously engaged in regionalist strategies, performing a farmer masquerade of sorts. In doing so, he also posed as conventionally masculine, hiding his homosexuality from his rural community. Thus, he came to experience himself as a double man. This book conveys the very real threats under which Wood lived and pays tribute to his resourceful responses, which were often duplicitous and have baffled art historians who typically take them at face value.

About the Author

Sue Taylor is Professor Emerita of Art History at Portland State University and the author of Hans Bellmer: The Anatomy of Anxiety.

Reviews of 'Grant Wood’s Secrets'

Grant Wood’s Secrets has the makings of a landmark study. Beyond its far-reaching contributions to Wood scholarship, it also represents a signal achievement in queer studies and studies of masculinity. Wood experts will find a great deal that is new here, and those less familiar with his work will discover an artist whose life and career illuminate the story of American painting in exciting new ways.
- R. Tripp Evans, Wheaton College, author of Grant Wood: A Life