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The Cover
November 24, 2004

End of the Hunt

Author Affiliations
 

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2004;292(20):2443. doi:10.1001/jama.292.20.2443

It could be said that the American Regionalist painter Dale Nichols (1904-1995) is to Nebraska as Grant Wood is to Iowa or Thomas Hart Benton is to Missouri and John Steuart Curry is to Kansas. All painted the midwest countryside as they saw it during the 1930s. It was an art as rural as the front-room parlor and as American as the patchwork quilt and the husking bee. It was also accessible, an art as much at home on a kitchen calendar as on a museum wall; even when satiric, it was nonoffending. But during the decade of the 30s, the country also lay beneath the Great Depression; abroad, the clouds of World War II were gathering. When war finally began in 1939, the Regionalist art movement was over as abruptly as the turning of last month’s calendar page. What once had looked homey suddenly looked provincial. What once evoked nostalgia was now simply quaint or, worse, merely old. The future was the new frontier; aspiring artists went east, to Chicago, to New York, to Europe. They returned—or not—changed, bearing all kind of unfamiliar names for what they did: Abstraction, Action, Color Field, Hard-edge. The Regionalists disappeared, but fortunately their work did not. It survives today in such iconic works as End of the Hunt (cover ), painted in 1934 by Nichols and now in the permanent collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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