A reader e-wrote wanting to know if I intended to use the classic painting American Gothic by Grant DeVolson Wood (February 13, 1891 – February 12, 1942) in a forthcoming book on martial arts forks.
That is indeed a three-tined fork, but I am reluctant to assign it any special symbolic or allegorical value without knowing more about pitchforks in early 20th century Iowa. In 1930 Grant Wood was 38, and apparently used his younger sister Nan (32) and his dentist the 62-year-old Byron McKeeby as models. The house in the background is a real house: built by the Dibbles, it stands at 300 American Gothic Street in Eoldon Iowa. The featured window may have been purchased from the Sears catalog. Wood entered the painting in a competition at The Art Institute of Chicago and won the bronze prize, $300.