Title: Untitled (Iowa as man found it)
Dimensions: 15 1/2 x 11 7/8 in. (39.4 x 30.2 cm)
Classification: Prints and Printing Plates
Credit Line: Gift of the J. N. "Ding" Darling Foundation. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Darling began design and work on "Iowa as we found it" in the 1930s, and in 1946 he issued a famous cartoon using the same image to celebrate Iowa's centennial. This print and the resulting cartoon was representative of Darling's respect for the beauty of the natural resources.
Although this proof is untitled, the title appears on other impressions of the print. The Darling family moved from Elkhart, Indiana to Sioux City, Iowa in 1886, when Jay was ten years old. Iowa certainly still had prairie lands in 1886, but one feels that the print is a bit romanticized. Surely the Darlings did not travel by covered wagon! The print, therefore, is an idealization of the prairie, and contains an implied indictment of the despoliation of the land. Darling made this image about the same time he drew a dartoon of a similar pioneer family, dated May 9, 1932. This print is one of his first photo-engravings and the deeply etched lines strongly emboss the paper. In the second state of the print, drypoint lines are added to the birds' wings.