Quick Reference

Time Period:

Swift River, Mass

Oil on Canvas



25 X 30

Williston Academy, 1933
Northfield Seminary, 1933
Deerfield Valley AA, 1933
Jone Library, Amherst, MA 1934
Syracuse MFA, 1934
Concord AA, 1934
Binghamton MFA, 1934
MacBeth Gallery, 1935, '37, '38
Mt. Holyoke College, 1935
Corcoran MFA, 1935 - '36
Vose Gallery, 1938
Westfield Athenaeum 1938
Valleyhead Sanitarium, 1939 - '41
Harold Grieve, 1942

Mr. Bernard H. Hyman

Also owned by:
Virginia Dwyer & sister Jenny Brinks
Springfield MFA



The sale was brokered by Harold Grieve of Hollywood to Mr Hyman a high-level executive at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures of Culver City, California

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RSW's Diary Comments

The Hyman dining room with Contentment on the wall

"Painted 1933. The side porch of Mr. Howes of Swift River, Mass. When at one of the Corcoran Biennial Exhibitions, Cecelia Beaux [below] made the assertion that she considered it the handsomest painting in the show-- -and that she would buy it herself if financial times were not so hard. Exhibited very largely about the country. Sold, March, 1942, by Harold Grieve of Hollywood for me, to a high executive of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures of Culver City, California, Mr. Bernard H. Hyman."

Comments in a notebook by RSW:

"April 26, 1935: During April, the American Federation of Arts, invited my oil painting Contentment which hangs at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D. C. on exhibition until May 5th ( and of course completely insured while there)-- to be included in a group to tour the country for an indefinite length of time--running into 1936. This painting and frame are completely insured while in the hands of the American Federation of Arts. So this painting Contentment can be crossed off my insurance list until you hear from me further that it is back in my hands."

"January 11, 1932: motored to Swift River to see Miss Albro;---made drawing of ell of Howes Farm, ready for painting."

Additional Notes

Cecilia Beaux
Cecilia Beaux

Art Chat, by Anna W. Olmsted, Dir. of Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts

"...Contentment (expressed by a white house superbly painted, an old dog asleep in its place in the sun)....."

Cecilia Beaux

According to Wikipedia,"Cecilia Beaux (May 1, 1855 - September 17, 1942) was an American society portraitist, in the manner of John Singer Sargent. She was a near-contemporary of American artist Mary Cassatt and also received her training in Philadelphia and France. Her sympathetic renderings of the American ruling class made her one of the most successful portrait painters of her era." Her comments regarding this painting would be high praise for him. Her story is fasinating and we recommend you visiting her Wikipedia Page. We do not know how the two knew each other, if at all. It could simply have been that she wrote him a letter to express her admiration for the painting. He routinely burned all of his mail among other things and so we have no record of the exchange.

Soap Opera Actress, Virginia Dwyer
Soap Opera Actress, Virginia Dwyer


The travels of this painting is one of the more extraordinary in all of RSW's catalog. It hung in the famed Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. (now defunct- 2018) from April 1935 thru the year 1936. Then RSW sent it to his good friend, Hollywood Set Designer and Interior decorator Harold Grieve for him to sell. Grieve later sold it to Hollywood Movie Producer, Bernard H. Hyman, in March of 1942 shortly before Hyman's death in September that same year. For nearly 50 years the painting's whereabout are unknown until 1991 when retired Soap Opera Actress Virginia Dwyer Gorman, living in NYC (in concert with her sister Jenny Lou Brinks of Westport, CT) contacts the George Walter Vincent Smith Collection of the Springfield Museum to express their desire to donate the painting. The collection accepts the donation and adds it to its collection were it remains to this day in storage.

Saratoga movie poster, 1937
Saratoga movie poster, 1937

In August of 2018, a Westport, CT man who watched an old movie (Saratoga) on Turner Movie Classics (TMC) and noted the producer (Hyman), believes that Hyman may be related to some childhood friends he once knew and turned to Google to search for information on Bernard H. Hyman. He finds our website and emails us to related what he knows about the Hymans. We, here at the website, take notice immediately to his location, Westport, CT, and our interest is piqued knowing that Dwyer's sister Jenny lived there as well. Needless to say, we have yet to find confirmation connecting the names of the Hymam Family members he knew (some of which worked as studio executives as well) to Bernard himself. The records are suprisingly sparce but we find that what we do know is compelling enough to speculate that that painting came east with Bernard's son after the death of his mother (Lula). Bernard's son had three sons of his own, two of which worked in the entertainment industry, and could very well have crossed paths with a famous soap actress or her sister who lived in the same town. Oddly enough and purely incidential to this story, not only was Saratoga one of Hyman's last films before getting sick, it starred Clark Gable whom Hyman would later be interred next to at the famous Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. (Source: http://www.findagrave.com/)

For more information on Bernard Hyman and his filmography profile Click Here to view his IMDB page.