Some Wonder if Grant Wood Mural is Hidden in Building
MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) — A restoration company will determine if murals painted by famed Iowa artist Grant Wood are hidden beneath panels in a Marshalltown building.
The possibility that murals by the artist who painted the iconic American Gothic were concealed in the Tallcorn Towers Apartment building arose after a story last year in the Times-Republican newspaper.
That story noted a 1949 article in the newspaper, which reported Wood had been commissioned to decorate the Tallcorn's ballroom and restaurant.
The Times-Republican reports local historians aren't aware that Wood worked in the building.
Building owners B.O. and Barbara Bryngelson recently sold the Tallcorn to St. Paul, Minn.-based developer Common Bond, which plans an extensive renovation of the 84-year-old building.
Koester Construction Co., of Grimes, which will soon start working on the building, has hired Renaissance Restoration Inc. of Galena, Ill., to determine if the murals exist. Koester manager Bo Weber said the company must follow historic preservation guidelines in its renovation.
B.O. Bryngelson said if the murals exist, they might be along a hallway near the ballroom.
"There was wallpaper here (on a wall) in 1970 when we bought the building," he said. "The wallpaper began peeling away, so it was painted over. The murals might, or might not, be underneath."
Zak Dunne, of Renaissance, said the company should be able to determine if a mural is covered beneath other material, but it can take time.
"I'm not sure how long it might take to determine if there are murals there or not," he said.
Wood painted mural in other hotels owned by Eppley Hotels of Omaha, which also built the Tallcorn. Those include hotels in Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Sioux City and Waterloo.
Wood was born in Iowa in 1891 and spent most of his life in the state, painting scenes of the people and landscapes of the Midwest. His painting American Gothic, with its couple standing before a house with a Gothic window, has become among the world's most well-known images.
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