Hills of Iowa, 1937
Oil on canvas
Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Many people who have never been to Iowa tend to think of it as being very flat and uninteresting. Those people are wrong, wrong, wrong. Most of Iowa is quite hilly, thanks to the glaciers that covered the state during the last ice age. Marvin Cone, a native of Cedar Rapids, was of course well acquainted with the topography of eastern Iowa, and many of his best paintings display the rolling hills of the countryside near Cedar Rapids in all their glory. Unless I'm very mistaken, the landscape seen here in Hills of Iowa is very close to Mt. Vernon, Iowa, where I went to college. The painting is based on sketches Cone made from the bluffs overlooking the Cedar River, and to my knowledge there aren't any other bluffs overlooking the Cedar River near Cedar Rapids other than those near Mt. Vernon.
Unlike his friend Grant Wood, who painted his own fair share of pictures of the hills of Iowa, Cone never achieved much fame outside of eastern Iowa. I attribute this to Cone having graduated from Coe College, which sucks.