The Unassuming Grave Of an Iowa Legend
If you're from the Midwest, certainly if you're an Iowa native, you know the name Grant Wood. He is among the most famous Iowans in the history of our state. His painting American Gothic is among the most famous pieces of art in modern history. Despite his amazing works of art, including the above piece called Stone City, his celebrity is rarely hailed outside of the state he lived in.
Grant Wood was born in rural Anamosa in 1891. The family moved to Cedar Rapids after the death of his father. He attended Cedar Rapids Washington High School and eventually attended the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Wood also made numerous trips to France to study art before settling back in Iowa. He helped found the Stone City Art Colony to help artists survive the Great Depression. Although Grant Wood is best known for his paintings, he worked in many other art fields including ink, charcoal, ceramics, metal, and wood.
Wood died of pancreatic cancer just shy of his 51st birthday. His works are celebrated around the word, but are held in especially high regard in the region in which many of his paintings depict. Rural Iowa. Jones County to be more specific. Wood is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Anamosa. You'd expect a world famous artist to have a grander final resting place, but you'd be wrong.
As you wind your way through the cemetery, you'll eventually find three steps. They feature the name Grant Wood and his year of birth and death. You then take those three steps up to his final resting place, and a simple marker.
Wood served in World War I, thus the gold star and American flag. But other than that, this simple artist from Iowa has a simple headstone. No fancy tomb or elaborate engravings. The next time you pass through Anamosa, take a few minutes and pay your respects to one of Iowa's most famous residents. It's just three little steps.
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