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No man in the U. S. is a more fervid believer in developing "regional art " than Grant Wood. Long before Public Works Art Project started the Government's $1,408,381 program to give work to more than 3,000 artists. Wood had established his own Iowa art colony in Stone City. There for little more than $50 an artist could live and learn for a six-week session. When PWAP was established Wood became its Iowa leader, taught Iowa artists to paint the "U. S. scene "?prime purpose of PWAP. Today he is trying to continue the work PWAP started. He and a group of students are preparing a series of murals for the Iowa State University Theatre at Iowa City.
Wood's theory of regional art rests upon the idea that different sections of the U. S. should compete with one another just as Old World cities competed in the building of Gothic cathedrals. Only thus he believes, can the U. S. develop a truly national art. Whether PWAP has sown the seeds of a national art no man can yet tell, but, beyond dispute, PWAP's investment has not only enormously stimulated the public's interest but has also revealed definite regional traits in art. Some of these districts and their characteristics
Chicago's leading artist is Ivan Le Lorraine Albright, 37, who likes to picture men whose skins are as wrinkled as a dirty handkerchief. His heavy baroque style brought him local fame when he applied it to a loutish, hunched figure called The Lineman. Other noteworthy Chicago artists: Malvin Albright, twin of Ivan who sculpts under the name of Zsissly; Aaron Bohrod (pronounced Bo-rod) who does sketches of Chicago streets and coal yards; Jean Crawford Adams (landscapes); Archibald John Motley Jr., Negro who gets a bright, sculpturesque quality in his portraits of fellow Negroes Frances Foy, whose specialty is city parks and streets.
Detroit. Artist who has spent the most time with the most success portraying Detroit is a Philadelphian?Charles Sheeler. Commissioned by Edsel Ford in 1927 to do a series of paintings of the Ford River Rouge plant, Painter Sheele turned out a series of meticulous, exact canvases that in black and white reproductions are almost indistinguishable from Photographer Sheeler's excellent camera studies of similar subjects. In spite of objecting to his photographic technique, most critics allow Sheeler a top place among U. S. painters of industrial scenes. Michigan's nearest approach to catching the U. S. scene in paint is a Flint school of artists led by Jaroslav Brozik which applies to industrial themes an impressionistic manner.
Boston remains conservative. Ten years ago Artists Harley Perkins, Charles Hovey Pepper and Carl G. Cutler started a minor revolt against what they called the "Museum [of Fine Arts ] School" which was then turning out replicas of John Singer Sargent. The revolt sagged. Today Boston's best artist concerned with the contemporary U. S. scene is Molly Luce, wife of Alan Burroughs. X-ray art researcher for Harvard's Fogg Museum.