University Museums

Title: Approaching Storm
Name: Lithograph
Date: 1940
Period: Depression Era
Medium: Lithograph
Country/Culture: American
Dimensions: 11 3/4 x 8 7/8 in. (29.8 x 22.5 cm)
Signed: Hand written and signed in pencil, lower right: Grant Wood
Marks: Watermark in the paper is GCM for George Miller who printed a number of Grant Wood's lithographs.
Edition: Edition of 250. Published by Associate American Artists.
Classification: Prints and Printing Plates
Credit Line: Gift of Arthur Klein. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University.
Object Number: UM2002.47
More Information
"In the last few years of his life Wood produced a series of pictorial inventions of 'farmer material' based on his extensive acquaintance with the rich farmland of Iowa. Wood transformed this region into a world of well-being, a metamorphosis of nature that gave no hint of the hardships of tilling the land, no sense of the arbitrary catastrophes of nature or the inconstancy of human institutions. This rural paradise occupied by innocent farm folk, anonymous providers immunized from the harsh, impersonal realities of bad weather, pests, disease, fluctuating markets, and mortgages." (From Dennis, James, "Grant Wood." Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1986. p. 201).

Handmade haystacks occur in "Approaching Storm", one of the few pictures in which Wood allowed the weather to play a role. Nevertheless, the threat of ornamental thunderhead, whose angular shafts of rain drive against the distant horizon, does not appear to disturb the men at work stacking the ripe grain from the threshing run of August.

Three men bent over orderly diagonal rows of handmade haystacks working with abandon as a series of dominant anvil-shaped storm clouds are seen approaching in the distance. Comparisons can be drawn between the foremost figure in this lithograph, Christian Petersen's Cornhusker, and the cornhusker in John Bloom'sPost office Mural Cartoon. All three artists worked cooperatively for the Iowa Public Works of Art Project under Grant Wood's direction.

Grant Wood was born in Iowa in 1891 to a Quaker family. He lived in Iowa until his death in 1942 except for four overseas trips to Europe. In 1934, he became the director of the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) in Iowa and professor of art at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. Grant Wood is best known as a pioneer in the artistic style known as Regionalism, specifically Rural Regionalism.