Quick Reference

Time Period:
Painted about 1931.

Location:
"road up out of Swift River"

Medium:
Oil on Canvas

Type:
Landscape

Category:
Roads & Streets

Size:
40 X 50

Exhibited:
Grand Central Galleries (NYC),1931
Myles Standish Galleries, 1931
J.H. Miller Galleries, 1932
Amherst Coll. Jones Library, '32
Springfield Art league, 1932
Jordan March Galleries, 1932
Stockbridge (MA) Public Library, '32
Grand Central Galleries (NYC),1932
Mt. Holyoke Coll. Dwight Hall, 1935
Boston Art Club, 1936, '37, '39

Purchased:
Unknown

Provenance:
Unknown

Noteworthy:

Shown at Jordan Marsh Exhibition, Boston in 1932, where it ran close to winning the popular vote.

Related Links

Featured Artwork: New England Origins

New England Heights
The IMAGE ABOVE is, New England Heights, a 25 x 30 and the same subject as the 40 x 50 New England Origins.

RSW's Diary Comments

New England Origins, Boston Globe, April 10, 1932
The picture above is taken from the April 10, 1932,
Boston Globe article announcing the opening of the
Boston Art Club sponsered exhibition held at the
Jordan Marsh Gallery. It is the only image we have
of this painting! CLICK on image to see the article.

"Painted about 1931. A large 40 x 50 made at the top of the semi-abandoned road up out of Swift River past the Howe"s farm (see Contentment) Shown at Jordan Marsh Exhibition, Boston in 1932, where it ran close to winning the popular vote and from where Mr. N. Bill tried to buy it for the Springfield (Mass) Museum for $600 for which amount I refused to sell it. Exhibited largely."


Editor's Note:

There are a number of mysteries regarding this painting, for one thing, besides being one of the last 40 x 50 oils Woodward made, the sepia print of it is missing! For another... Woodward says it was exhibited widely and that the Springfield Museum tried to by it but never says who did buy it? We have no idea where this painting is. [As an Aside} The price offered of $600 for this painting by the Springfield Museum at the height of his career is plainly put - insulting. He fetched better prices in the early 20s when he was a relative unknown.




Additional Notes

Boston Post, April 29, 1932, by Alice Lawton
Boston Post, April 29, 1932,
by Alice Lawton

Boston Post, April 29, 1932, by Alice Lawton

"More than 10,000 votes were cast by interested visitors to the two weeks' exhibition and much curiosity has been aroused as to the winning canvas... only 113 votes were divided among the first six paintings. The other three were New England Origins by Robert Strong Woodward and (two others)...


Greenfield Recorder, April 29, 1932

"The painting New England Origins by Robert Strong Woodward of Buckland was the fourth favorite with 10,000 persons who viewed 148 exhibits in a show of paintings by contemporary artists in New England held in Boston. The voting was very close for only 113 votes separated the first six paintings in the final list. The only artists who obtained higher votes than Mr. Woodward were Elmer W. Greene, Arthur Spear, and Benard Keyes."


North Adams Transcript, April 30, 1932

"Mr. Woodward's New England Origins was the fourth favorite with several thousands of persons who viewed it recently at an exhibition of contemporary paintings in Boston."


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An essay by Dr. Mark Purinton 2018 [edtited by BCM]:

New England Heights
From the 2013 PVMA exhibit featuring Woodward
is this image of New England Heights, It is the only
updated and current picture we have of this scene.

"In about 1931, according to the Robert Strong Woodward diary, he made a large 40 x 50 oil painting of a small farm on a hill in the Swift River district of western Massachusetts. He named it New England Origins. The painting was widely exhibited about the country and won much praise by viewers and critics.

At about the same time, Mr. Woodward made a smaller 25 x 30 oil of the same subject which he titled New England Heights, essentially an exact copy of New England Origins. It was recorded in the RSW diary and it was photographed by Mr. Ashworth. The next year after that Woodward made a third painting of the same scene and named it High on the Hill.

The only remaining negative, in Mr. Ashworth's handwriting, had the title High On The Hill written on it in pencil. But this was boldly crossed out by Woodward and was filed as New England Heights. The negative is still stored in the RSW studio.

The scene of all three paintings, a single, weathered barn (or shed) high on a hill, was so popular that all three were widely exhibited concurrently over the same years of 1933 and '34. Perhaps the reason Woodward felt it necessary to have three paintings of the same scene was the result of its high demand.

MLP