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Wisconsin Landscape

John Steuart Curry (American, Dunavant, Kansas 1897–1946 Madison, Wisconsin)

Oil on canvas
42 x 84 in. (106.7 x 213.4 cm)
Credit Line:
George A. Hearn Fund, 1942
Accession Number:
  • Description

    Wisconsin Landscape is an idealized composite of farm scenes that Curry saw while traveling around the Midwest. The narrow, horizontal canvas helps convey the vast openness of the region and draws attention to the expansive sky. The scene suggests that the farmers of Wisconsin in the late 1930s led a bucolic existence, but in reality agriculture was still suffering from the Great Depression. By glorifying the fertility of the land, Curry and other Regionalist painters like Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton aimed to provide images of hope for Americans. In 1942 the Metropolitan Museum acquired this prizewinner from the national "Artists for Victory" competition that supported American artists during World War II.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Signature: Signed, dated and titled (lower right): "Wisconsin Landscape"/John Steuart Curry 1938-39 ©

  • Exhibition History

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1941. ¦136th Annual Exhibition¦. no. 329

    New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1942. ¦Artistists for Victory Exhibition¦, p. 3 checklist

    New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1942. ¦Artists for Victory: An Exhibition of Contemporary American Art¦ (A picture book of the prize winners) unpaged

    Association of American Art, March 24 - April 12, 1947.
    U.N. Flushing: April 12, 1948 - End of Meeting, March 28, 1949 - End of Meeting.
    U.N. Flushing: September 20, 1949 - 10 Weeks

    New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1950. ¦20th Century Painters: A Special Exhibiton of oils, watercolors and drawings selected from the collections of American Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art¦. P. 4 (checklist entry)

    Los Angels Department Municipal Art National Construction Industries Home Show Exposition, June 14 - 24, 1951.

    USIA, Moscow: July 25 - September 5, 1959

    New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, october 14 - December 1, 1968

    Wisconsin: Madison Art Center, January 19 - February 23, 1969

    Kansas: University of Kansas Museum of Art, October 2 - November 3, 1970.

    New Jersey: New Jersey State Museum, April 17 - September 6, 1976

    Missouri: St. Louis Museum, February 18 - April 1972.

    Texas: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, June 30 - September 25, 1977

    Germany: Berlin, November 9 - December 28, 1980. Hamburg: January 11 - February 15, 1981.¦American Realism 1920 - 1940¦.

    Germany: Haus der Kunst, Munich, November 4, 1981 - January 31, 1982.

    Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, April 4 - May 23, 1982. ¦John S. Curry, Aaron Bohrod, John Wilde: Leaders in Wisconsin Art, 1936 - 1981¦.

    Madison, Wisconsin: Elvehjem Museum of Art, March 7, 1998 - May 17, 1998. San Francisco, California: M.H. de Young Museum, June 13, 1998 - August 30, 1998. Kansas City, Kansas: Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, October 11, 1998 - January 3, 1999. ¦John Steurt Curry: Inventing the Middle West¦ Pg. 61, Plate 56 illus. in color. Pg. 205, Fig. 9 illus. in black and white.

    Ohio: Columbus Museum of Art, February 18, 2000 - April 30, 2000. ¦Illusions of Eden: Visions of American Heartland¦.

  • References

    Mayor, A. Hyatt. The Artists for Victory Exhibition in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, N.S., vol. I, 1942 (December), p. 142 (mentioned as recipient of purchase prize) p. 143 (ill.)

    Geldzahler, Henry. Metropolitan Museum of Art: American Painting in the Twentieth Century, 1965, pg. 96, p. 211 (short biography of the artist).

    Czestochowski, Joseph S. John Steuart Curry and Grant Wood: A Portrait of Rural America. Iowa: 1981, plate 8, ilustrated pg. 24

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History