Grant Wood Sleeping Porch Conservation

In 2012, the Brucemore Board of Trustees and staff made the conservation of the Grant Wood Porch an institutional priority. Years of assessing the piece, documenting environmental conditions, and addressing the surrounding structural needs laid a critical foundation for this important project.

In 1925, Irene Douglas paid Cedar Rapids artist Grant Wood $125 to design and install a sleeping porch for her daughter's bedroom. Although Irene had discerning taste and could afford art from all over the world, she frequently chose to support local artists. Grant Wood went on to earn international acclaim. Today, his American Gothic painting, created in 1930, is the third most recognized portrait in the world.

Cedar Rapids, where Wood lived and taught for much of his life, is home to a unique collection of his masterworks, as well as a large assortment of architectural details designed by the regional artist. Historians credit Wood with the design and installation of fireplace screens, leaded-glass windows, murals, and more throughout the community. Located in private homes, few of these are available for the public to see. Wood's mural at Brucemore is one of the few examples in its original setting and available for public viewing.

In February of 2013, Brucemore hired Tony Kartsonas of Historic Resources, LLC (Wisconsin), to lead the conservation project. Other experts joined the team throughout the process, including fellow conservators Susan Goione Buchholz (Colorado) and Richard Wolbers (Winterthur/University of Delaware), architectural engineer Mark Nussbaum (Chicago), and the 3-D laser scanning firm CARMA (Texas).

This conservation project was made possible through grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, state of Iowa, and Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation; private donations from the community; and the annual Tahitian Party.

A closer look....

Support Brucemore's ongoing preservation efforts

Preserving Brucemore's built and natural assets is an act of unconditional stewardship. Participate in the rehabilitation of the buildings, gardens, and grounds by making a one-time or annual gift to our preservation projects.