Quick Reference

Time Period:
Prior to 1923

Possibly Apple Valley
Ashfield, MA

Oil on Canvas


Trees, Landscapes & Views


J.H. Miller Gallery, 1921

George Walter Vincent Smith
for the Springfield Art Museum



This piece once was part of the George Walter Vincent Smith Museum Collection. At this time we do not know its whereabouts.

Related Links

Featured Artwork: In Apple Blossom Time


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RSW's Diary Comments

There are no diary comments for this painting.

Editor's Note:

Through the Hills in May
Through the Hills in May, 1920-'21, painted in
Ashfield's "Apple Valley" area along with another paint-
ing. Bought by Walter Smith of the Springfield Museum
prior to the purchase of Under the Winter Moon. The
other painting whose name is unknown to us, may be
the painting by the name of-- In Apple Blossom Time.

In December 1926, the Springfield Union published an article (seen below) reporting on the success of Woodward's first one-man show in Boston at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ronald T. Lyman. The article, as background information on the artist, cite the names three paintings bought by George Walter Vincent Smith, benefactor of the Springfield Mus-eum of Art and its current director, as part of the co-llection that is his namesake. Those paintings are:

Early Moonlight (purchased in 1921)
Under the Winter Moon (purchased in 1922) and
In Apple Blossom Time (purchase unknown).

This is the ONLY record we have of a painting by the name of In Apple Blossom Time. It does not appear in either listing of Woodward's exhibitions at the J.H. Miller gallery's of 1921 or 1922. However, we do not have a complete list of the 1921 show because Woodward sold Miller a wholesale lot of "6 to 8" paintings to him for $1,000 (from the diary comments for A Golden Barn). He could not remember how many paintings there were when compiling his painting diary in the 1940s and we have only identified 5 paintings, possibly 6 because Under the Winter Moon, was also bought by Smith through Miller and is older than 1922. It exhibited at the National Academy of Design's Winter Show in 1921. Unfortunately, the Springfield Museum only has records of what is still in the Smith collection, Under the Winter Moon, and another painting not mentioned in this article, Through the Hills in May, as well as a painting donated to the museum by the Dwyer sisters in 1980, Contentment.

An old postcard of Apple Valley Road, Ashfield, MA
An old postcard of Apple Valley Road, Ashfield, MA
Once a popular destination near the Mohawk Trail. Wood-
ward painted two paintings from here most likely in 1920.

Through the Hills in May being left out of the Springfield Union article entirely despite having been purchased before Under the Winter Moon is problematic. We are left with a lot of uncertainty as to whether In Apple Blossom Time is really a legitimate painting name. At the very least it raises a number of other questions: (1) Did the reporter get the name In Apple Blossom Time wrong? (2) Are they incorrectly referring to Through the Hills in May? (3) If so, where did the reporter get the name In Apple Blossom Time? (4) Is In Apple Blossom Time part of the wholesale lot of paintings? (5) Or is it Under the Winter Moon? And could both be part of the wholesale purchase indicating that it is 8 paintings and not six?

Under the Winter Moon, 1920-'21

While it is possible that Under the Winter Moon is part of the wholesale lot, it is unlikely. First of all, none of the other known wholesale paintings are larger than 25" x 30" in size. The unnamed painting is actually Woodward's smallest known professional painting at 23" x 23" in size. What qualifies a painting as being "professional?" His signature. If he signed the painting, that is his seal of approval. He never signed a gift or anything that did not live up to his standard. Under the Winter Moon is a huge 40" x 50" painting. This would change the price balance among the lot of other paintings. Furthermore, Smith haggled with Woodward of the price for Under the Winter Moon and Woodward fought back and argued, "honor does not feed my horse..." at the offer of just a quarter of the the artist asking price to hang in the museum's collection...

THE ARTICLE IN QUESTION:   Springfield Union, Dec. 1926, around the 9th or 10th
Boston Globe Article

"''In Apple Blossom Time' is rich in beautiful spring colors."

Springfield Union, December 1926

Additional Notes

Back stretcher with sketch
Back stretcher with sketch

Through the Hills in May certainly fits the description for a painting with the name In Apple Blossom Time. However, we KNOW, and it is confirmed without a doubt that the painting known as Through the Hills in May is in fact, its name. The question remains, is there another painting that fits the time period, the style, and the scenery and its name is unknown to us? There is, and it just so happens to have on the verso of its canvas what appears to be a preliminary sketch of the painting Through the Hills in May (to the left).

We are finding it so hard to ignore this correlation of an unnamed painting that has been mislabeled for decades because an auctioneer gave it a generic name rather than calling it "untitled" could not possibly be the painting In Apple Blossom Time.

Yet, we have no way of confirming its name at this time. It is okay to assume the reporter got the name wrong because we have so many examples over Woodward's career of other reporters, even columnist, and critics getting the name of a painting wrong? How much weight do we give the fact that the reporter left out Through the Hills in May entirely? Did the writer make one mistake or two?

Across the Apple Valley, 1920-'21. could this
previously unnamed painting be the same canvas
named In Apple Blossom Time

Worse yet, we have taken the liberty of giving this unnamed painting a name because the generic name conflicted with another painting whose name is not only on the painting's stretcher but appears in Woodward's painting diary with a clear description. So we named this painting "Across the Apple Valley" (to the right) for its location which we know.

We simply cannot say with any certainty that the painting we (nick)named, Across the Apple Valley, is not in fact the painting titled, In Apple Blossom Time. It does fit nicely into so many boxes: (1) it fits the time period; (2) it is link with another painting that is to this day hanging in the main gallery of the Springfield Museum; (3) as well as being a blossoming apple tree; and (4) the smallest professionally painted and signed painting in Woodward's body of work.

However, working against it is the fact that we have no known example of Woodward ever exhibiting a painting without a name and that name was usually written in pencil in the artist hand. Furthermore, the painting we (nick)named, Across the Apple Valley, is also the ONLY known, truly square painting known to us. We had the opportunity to examined the edges of the canvas in person and saw no evidence of it being cutdown at any time. This fact prompted us to question whether this was a commisssioned painting set with a specific size requirement from the customer. Officially, it is a split decision. We hope to one day learn the truth but until then, the possibility remains.