By the late 1920s, the Midwestern paintings of John Steuart Curry and others in the Regionalist Movement were gaining widespread popularity. The Midwest was a region that, up to Curry’s time, was seen as a cultural backwater by many members of the eastern artistic establishment. However, sweeping social changes in urban America and the ordeal of World War I engendered a new romantic vision of the rural Midwest; some artists and writers began to appreciate the region and its inhabitants as free of the urban, industrial, European taint of the East Coast.

The sights, sounds, smells, and textures of Curry's boyhood home in Kansas were deeply ingrained in him, and he translated them visually into his work. Although Curry's studio was located in Westport, Connecticut, he made this painting during a six-week trip home to Kansas, where he returned to remind himself of his subject matter and to keep himself "honest"; other easterners were painting the Midwest without ever having spent much time there.


  • Title: The Old Folks (Mother and Father)
  • Creator: John Steuart Curry (American, b.1897, d.1946)
  • Creator Lifespan: 1897/1946
  • Creator Nationality: American
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Madison, Wisconsin, United States
  • Creator Birth Place: Dunavant, Kansas, United States
  • Date Created: 1929
  • Location Created: United States
  • Physical Dimensions: 30 x 36 in. (76.2 x 91.4 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Edwin and Virginia Irwin Memorial
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Accession Number: 2002.46

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