Thomas Hart Benton
Stuart Davis
Ben Shahn
John Steuart Curry

Grant Wood


John Stuart Curry - In the American Scene

John Stewart Curry embraces the middle west of the Depression and World War II as the essence of America. Curry tried to depict common scenes of peace, struggle, and perseverance in his work, as a way to demonstrate the characteristics of the American laborer, family, and even the land itself. He, like other American scene painters, were trying to create art for the people, and painted scenes as varied as tornadoes, to the circus, to crops, to floods. There were three main themes in Curry’s artwork: the struggle between man and nature, religion, and people outcast from or by society. During the 1930s, he particularly became interested in the re-emerging trend of public mural artwork, and found these goverment-sponsored commissions as another way to reach the public. Today, some of his work can be found in places such as the U.S. Department of the Interior Building, around the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and in the Kansas Statehouse, just to name a few. More than anything else, Curry's work elevates the image of the midwestern landscape beyond a simple expanse of land, to a place and an idea to be considered critically and spiritually.