Though the United States has been predominantly a nation of city dwellers since the 1920s, the farm still figures large in the American consciousness.
Two noteworthy exhibitions this fall examine artistic treatments of the agrarian landscape, offering a striking contrast in viewpoints. Grant Wood and the American Farm, at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, presents a lyrical survey depicting humankind in harmony with nature. It includes works from the Hudson River school’s Jasper Cropsey, impressionist Childe Hassam, and regionalists such as Wood and Thomas Hart Benton. A highlight is Wood’s 1936 oil Spring Turning—a hypnotic god’s-eye view of a rural universe untouched by twentieth-century progress. No automobiles, no machinery of any kind is seen as farmers and their teams of horses plow the land into a vast, loamy quilt.
Grant Wood and the American Farm • Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Winston-Salem, North Carolina • to December 31 • reynoldahouse.org