For three months in the summer of 1920, Grant Wood and his best friend Marvin Cone traveled to Paris to see great art, soak up the sights, and to paint. This brief sojourn proved to be pivotal for both artists, enhancing their nascent interest in Impressionism and painting en plein air. While each artist was not to continue painting in this style beyond the early 1930s, this trip to Paris (Wood’s first trip abroad, Cone’s second) was critical to their development as artists. What the artists did, saw, and painted is carefully outlined in Cone’s meticulous and well-written diary of the trip, including where the artists painted on which days. As such, this diary enables the ability to date certain works to the precise date of creation. It also allows viewers to see how each artist depicted the same scene, often in very different terms.
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