Quick Reference

Time Period:
Painted in 1933-'34


Oil on Canvas



27 x 30

Weldon Hotel, Greenfield (MA) 1934
Deerfield Valley AA, 1936
MacBeth Galleries, 1937
Williston Academy, 1938

Beulah Bondi



Beulah Bondi (close friend of RSW) the noted stage and screen actress came to his studio to purchase this artwork making the news!

Related Links

Featured Artwork: The Golden Slope

RSW's Diary Comments

"Painted in 1938. Brilliant red and orange tangle of Oct. maples in fall color. Small spots of blue sky showing in places, a few large gray maple boles and slanting stone wall against sloping banks of foreground, topped by red sumac. Bought from my exhibition at Williston Academy, Easthampton, around 1939 or 40 by Beulah Bondi (close friend) the noted stage and screen actress of 6660 Whitely Terrace, Hollywood, California."

ADDENDUM to the diary comments:

Beulah Bondi
Beulah Bondi, the
quintessential Hollywood matriarch

Woodward made two errors in his painting diary regarding this painting. First, it was painted much earlier. It first exhibited at the Weldon Hotel in Greenfield (MA) in August of 1934 putting the date no later than the fall of 1933. Second, it was purchased by Bondi at the 1938 Williston Academy's Exhibition held in the Winthrop Murray Crane Memorial Room from May 28th through June 15th along with 13 other paintings (see news clippings below). RSW did not begin to compile his painting journal until around 1941 - '42 at the suggestion of his driver Mark Purinton, so much of it was done from memory. There are not a lot of inaccuracies but when we find them we do our best to straighten them out.

Editor's Note:

Can anyone else see the "Golden Spiral" design of this painting? The Golden Spiral is based on the golden ratio that determines symmetry. Aesthetically, it is a beauty standard. Woodward loved to name his paintings poetically in a marriage of opposites, usually combining the literal and the figurative and so we believe their is more to "Golden" being in the name than its coloring. See the Golden Spiral Composition to this painting HERE. And for more on the notion of beauty see the next section below for more.

Additional Notes

Article from North Adams Transcript, June 5, 1937
North Adams Transcript, June 5, 1937

This painting has finally come home to New England after many years in California. It was cleaned up and restored at the famed Williamstown (MA) Art Conservation Center and exhibited at the 2018 "Twenty Treasures" Exhibition of Robert Strong Woodward held at the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association's Memorial Hall Museum.

Beulah in her dining room, Golden Slope on the wall.
Beulah in her dining room, Golden Slope on the wall.

RSW's friendship with Beulah Bondi began sometime in the early 1920s when she was getting her start appearing in a number of Broadway shows beginning in 1925. We do not know what exactly brought them together. Bondi did grow up in Chicago. Her father was in real estate like RSW's and she went to a private school about an hour from where RSW attended the Bradley Polytechnic Institute. However, she was 3 years his junior and it seems unlikely they would have crossed paths in those circles. None the less, we do know, as told by Helen Patch the first meeting was over a buffet dinner hosted by RSW at his Hiram Woodward Home and Studio

Article from Greenfield Recorder, June 3,
1937. Easthampton is the location of the
Williston Academy.

Miss Bondi, of course, was a two time Academy Award nominated actress (both for Supporting Actress). In 1977 she won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series ( The Waltons).

She apparently had a wonderful sense of humor. Here is an account the September 13, 1977, Washington Post newspaper of the announcement: "Veteran actress Beulah Bondi, 85, got a standing ovation when she accepted a best actress prize for appearing in an episode of 'The Waltons.' Bondi, clutching the award, told the crowd, 'The best part is that it has come to me while I am still alive.'"

RSW's signature from the lower right
RSW's signature from the lower right
Labels found on the back stretcher
Labels found on the back stretcher preserved
by the Williamstown (MA) Art Conservation Center
before adding form backer-board protection to the back
A close up look at the brush style
A close up look at the brush style