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Dispute Over ‘American Gothic’

May 11, 2001

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) _ A dispute has surfaced over the use of Grant Wood’s famous ``American Gothic″ painting as the basis for an upcoming public art display called ``Overalls All Over.″

The event is to feature some 50 decorated 6-foot-tall ``Gothic″ pairs on downtown sidewalks. The statutes are tentatively scheduled to be in place on June 8.

But Robert Panzer, executive director of Visual Artists and Galleries Association, and Cedar Rapids attorney Matthew Krigbaum are at odds over the right of publicity and how it applies to Nan Wood Graham, Wood’s sister, and her portrait in the painting. Graham died in 1990.

``American Gothic″ features a solemn farmer and his daughter standing in front of a building with a distinctive Gothic window. It is considered Wood’s masterpiece.

Graham and a Cedar Rapids dentist served as the models.

Panzer, of New York City, represents the dozen or so heirs to Graham’s estate in overseeing how ``American Gothic″ is used for commercial purposes.

Krigbaum, who was asked by the Cedar Rapids Convention and Visitors Bureau to explore the use of Wood’s painting, said he contacted Panzer last June and the two exchanged correspondence. However, Panzer said Wednesday that permission was not granted.

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