Corn is a pretty important crop and commodity in the Midwest. If you don’t think so, take a little drive west from Sandwich after you visit the Sunday at Sandwich Antiques Market and pay attention to the miles and miles of healthy cornfields that flourish in Illinois. Over the years, corn has supported many farm families and now there are industrial processes that convert grain to ethanol for use as a fuel additive. Ten percent of the energy needed to move your auto down the road is derived from corn.
Some people get pretty excited about corn. One such figure was Alfred Montgomery (1857-1922) who was so infatuated with the common corn plant that he painted many pictures of corn cobs in various farm shed settings; corn in a bunch on a peg or in a sack, or laying on the wood floor in shed. Montgomery, a Kansas native, was self-taught and became an art teacher. He also worked in Illinois, teaching, painting corn and other scenes.
Now a cob of corn is not a thing of beauty to many people, but to some in the antiques and art world a painting of corn by Alfred Montgomery is something special. On Sunday, June 26, 2016, a painting of corn cobs in a gunny sack sold at a Fricker auction at Ellsworth, Illinois, for an impressive $8,100.00. The painting was signed and had a Bloomington, Illinois connection. A nice return, but not a record. In 2014, a Montgomery corn painting sold in California for a whopping $17,000!