John Steuart Curry, Thomas Hart Benton, and Grant Wood were Regionalist painters. With the Social Realists, they composed the group of artists who defined American Scene Painting. This art movement, which prevailed during the Great Depression of the 1930s, sought to portray American life in traditional realist styles. The tone of their work could be lyrically nationalist or critical.
Born in Kansas, Curry studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and in Paris. He taught in New York at the Art Students' League but returned to the Midwest in 1936 to teach as artist-in-residence in the College of Agriculture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He continued to teach and paint there until his death in 1946 at the age of forty-nine. Free brushwork and energized forms characterize his realist style that poeticizes and celebrates the history and everyday life of his beloved Midwest.
More Works by John Steuart Curry in the MMoCA Collection
Junker, Patricia A. John Steuart Curry: Inventing the Middle West. Manchester, Vermont: Hudson Hills Press, 1998.
John Steuart Curry, Madison Landscape, 1941, oil and tempera on canvas, 87 x 96 inches. Collection of Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Gift of First Wisconsin National Bank of Madison. 1985.48 © S.G. Schuster/John Steuart Curry Foundation.
John Steuart Curry and Grant Wood at the Stone City Art Colony, July, 1933. Photograph by John Barry. Courtesy of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.