Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

Honorary Degree
  • Grant Wood
    born: near Anamosa, Iowa, United States ; died: Iowa City, Iowa, United States ; active: United States
    George Charles Miller, printer
    born: New York, New York, United States ; active: United States
    Associated American Artists, publisher
    active 1934–2000
  • Honorary Degree, 1937
  • Where object was made: United States
  • lithograph
  • Paper Type: Rives BFK wove
  • Sheet/Paper Dimensions: 16 1/16 x 11 11/16 in
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: 408 x 297 mm
    Image Dimensions Height/Width: 11 7/8 x 6 7/8 in
    Image Dimensions Height/Width: 302 x 176 mm
    Mat Dimensions: 19 x 14 in
  • Museum purchase: Swannie Smith Zink Fund
  • Not on display
  • 1959.0008
Catalogue raisonné

Three men involved in a graduation ceremony. The short man in the center is being handed a diploma by a man on the left and receiving a ceremonial sash from a man on the right. Light floods through a lancet window and bathes the trio in light.

Honorary Degree is an excellent example of Wood's hightly personal style. He represents a typical American event with humor and sympathy. The feeling of restraint is further emphasized by his patient execution of intricate design and hard-edged, brittle forms. The central figure is a self-portrait. The lithograph was executed as a commentary on Wood's reception of a degree and based on a pencil and crayon drawing of the same subject.