Although everyone recognizes American Gothic, the endlessly parodied image of a pitchfork-wielding farm couple, few know the gothic story of its creator, Grant Wood. In writing Wood's biography, I was intrigued by how this closeted gay man - who survived by adopting a folksy, overall-clad persona - drew inspiration from the women around him. Above all, these included his widowed mother and married sister, both of whom slept alongside Wood for much of his adult life. More Norman Bates than Norman Rockwell, it seems, he painted some of the most arresting female portraits in American art. Here are nine (and a half) of my favorites:
Author of "Grant Wood: A Life" (Knopf: 2010), Tripp Evans teaches art history at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. To read an excerpt from the book, visit www.grantwoodalife.com.