“Painted prior to 1930. One of my very early paintings. A small gray barn in summer with two scaffolding posts, and two prominent slant roofed ells against it, a black cat in the front path, all against a background of hills and trees. Painted at the head of the East Charlemont Ox-Bow. This canvas had been loaned to Florence Haeberle (my cousin) of Buckland, and I finally gave it to the Haeberles to help to hold together their estate when they were in financial trouble. So it belongs to the Haeberles and not to me”
"Barn itself in lovely grays, with shadows of blue and violet, highlights of yellow. Background summer greens with some yellow. There is a peculiar lushness in the meadow behind barn, impossible to describe. Foreground neutral grays and tans with highlights of orange. Black cat at steps! Sky, gray-white clouds with flashes of summer blue."
Hello Dr P.
You probably do not remember me, but I am sure you remember my parents who were long time patients of yours when they lived in East Charlemont. I grew up in Springfield and with Dr. and Mrs. S, my parents closest friends had the two camps up across from the Lightning Splitter and Lyman Wise's farm. Mr. Wise was Dorothy S's father. You may remember all of this. my Dad was a talker and loved to storytell. The two cabins were built in 1937, the year I was born, (that's the clue of my age) so I virtually grew up in Buckland as a youth. I remember RSW driving around in the open Packard with you at the wheel, and I even think you were stopped at one point between the Nelson place and the Wise place while RSW painted from the car itself. I moved to California to pursue a career as a ski racer in my youth, and never returned East to live, although I still consider my self a New Englander just living in San Francisco. I do get back east often and try to drive around West County when time permits.
So, now to RSW.
I have the Grey Barn painting which hangs proudly in our bedroom in San Francisco. I have viewed your web site a few times and have said I need to get in touch with you and get you a good color photograph to replace the sepia and white image you have on line, which I will do, but I just had the urge to write to you today, to get this information to you.
As you say, about the picture, RSW gave it to F H to help them out financially. When my mother and father bought what we called Seldom Farm (formerly known as the Barnes place, probably when RSW painted it, as well)) on West Oxbow Rd in East Charlemont in about 1956, I think it was, F., who was a great friend of all of ours, thought we should have the painting of our barn, so she sold it to my parents and it hung there until I moved my parents to SF, and it came along with them etc. I can probably look it up and see what they paid for it, as both were meticulous record keepers and nobody threw anything away, a tradition I carry on today. I don't know whether you know the house, but it now is a CSA farm run by a couple where you can buy your produce for the year. West County News did a profile of them a few years ago.
After we bought the farm, home from college one summer in 1957 or thereabouts, my Dad and I re-sided the barn, removing all the great old barnwood seen in the painting. and replacing it with new boards and painted it red, as it stands now. Wouldn't that be a great project to go around and photograph the painted scenes as they exist now, to have with the painting images. I may have photographs of the way it looked with the old weathered barnwood.
In any case, you can put in the record where the picture is, and it is available for anyone to see if they happen to be out here. We have other art and are always happy to have visitors. As to the future of the picture, one could argue that it should go back to the farm in East Charlemont, but I have no idea whether the couple care, or whether they could or would want to buy it. It has been a long time since my children have voiced an opinion of their own interest in the picture, but I should probably explore that for the record. Until then it will remain with us, I suppose looking down on us daily. Once and a while one crosses the block down at the auction in South Deerfield, and I get their auction notices. They always seem to sell reasonably well, and I imagine to local parties, possibly even you. I will get some images off to you.
I did love to read your history of growing up in Buckland. Did you ever catch frogs in the pond behind the Woodward studio or "shop" as you said he called it?
Thanks and Cheers,