Grant Wood - Sentimental Ballad 1940

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Sentimental Ballad 1940

Sentimental Ballad 1940
60x125cm oil on masonite
New Britain Museum of American Art, Connecticut, Vereinigte Staaten

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From New Britain Museum of American Art:
In 1940 Wood's dealer, Associated American Artists, and Hollywood film producer Walter Wanger, arranged for nine leading artists, including Wood and Benton, to paint scenes from an upcoming film directed by John Ford. For several weeks in May 1940, the artists worked on the set of "The Long Voyage Home," based on four one-act plays by Eugene O'Neill.
Wood's painting illustrates a scene at the end of the film, when seven tipsy sailors (played by, from left to right, John Qualen, John Wayne, Barry Fitzgerald [seated], Thomas Mitchell, Joseph Sawyer, David Hughes, and Jack Pennick) get teary-eyed while singing a familiar song in a pub. To produce this highly detailed work, which Wood himself acknowledged was the "most ambitious painting he [had] ever attempted," Wood painted from photographs and film stills. While he changed the composition slightly from the actual scene, his low vantage point reproduces the view of the movie audience; the table edge is drawn at eye level, and the actors tower over the scene.
Conceived as a publicity stunt for the film, the project received a great deal of attention in the popular and art press. The paintings were shown in New York at Associated American Artists Galleries and toured American museums.