I really enjoy the work of Andrew Wyeth, an American painter who died a few days ago. His lineage was deeply American, stretching back past the Revolutionary War and his dad N.C. Wyeth was a famous illustrator. Wyeth was a realist but without the upbeat tone of Norman Rockwell and Gothic but with more subtly then the famous 'American Gothic.'
'Christina's World' is based on a crippled woman who was too proud to use a wheel chair and so was dragging herself across the field when Wyeth saw her. However, and maybe Wyeth didn't intend this, the painting is very foreboding. (It could have been a comment on her pride.) The subdued colours, distant horizon and lack of shadows create an oppressive and slightly despairing atmosphere.
'Wind from the sea' is another favorite of mine that captures the movement of the curtains while also framing the empty, bleak landscape. Plebeian that I am, I've always preferred realism, especially realism used as a medium to convey powerful themes.