Featured Artwork: Out of The Past

RSW's Diary Comments

"Painted in summer of 1930. My first painting of the old Hitchcock Elm in old Deerfield. The house, once the studio of George Fuller, now owned by his son Arthur Fuller. Sold from my first Macbeth Gallery Exhibition to Mr. and Mrs. Francis M. Whitehouse of New York and Manchester, Mass. (Mr. Whitehouse, 1942 died a few years ago."

Editor's Note:

May 30, 2024 Woodward is incorrect in his recall of his first showing at Macbeth. His first exhibit at Macbeth is in April of 1932. It consisted of 4 oils and 7 chalk drawings (pastels). This painting along with 22 other oils and one pastel exhibited at the prestigious gallery in December of the same year just short of the artist's 10 year anniversary of the Redgate fire.

May 30, 2024 The sepia image above is terrible but it is at least, no longer a copy of a copy. We were able to salvage the original scan from Dr. Mark's 2002's PowerPoint documents. The negative itself is blurry. There is nothing else we can do. Still, there was once a good copy of the negative because it was used twice in the printed material below. Also note that the material below shows more of the painting than the print above.

December 15, 2016 The Whitehouses are long time clients of Woodward. Before he was a professional painter Woodward was a commercial artist and made cards, illuminations, and bookplates. He made a bookplate for the Whitehouse Manchester-by-the-Sea estate, Crowhurst. Coincidently, Whitehouse was the architect of note for the 1933 Chicago World's Fair of the art exhibit hall, Festival Hall, where Country Piazza hung at the invitation of the show's curator, Robert Harsh.

Additional Notes

North Adams Transcript
June 07, 1932

To the Right: An article clipping from the North Adams Transcript regarding RSW's exhibition at the Deerfield Academy (1932). It is one of 12 oil paintings mentioned in the article and one of 20 oil paintings and 10 chalk drawings exhibited.

"... one of the artist's most recent works; 'Out of the Past', a view of the HitcbcocK elm the old studio on the Albany road, Deerfield"

Comments in a notebook by RSW:

Sold June 12, 1933 to Mr. and Mrs. Francis M. Whitehouse through Macbeth Gallery, N.Y. city for $450.00....less 33 1/3... $300."

The Greenfield Recorder, May 31, 1932

"Out of the Past was painted this spring and has a particular appeal to Deerfield, for it is a study of the 'Hitchcock Elm.'"

Below: An images of the two programs this painting was used. It is only one of just a small number of times a painting was use more than once for this reason. First the Buckland Congregational Church's Sesquicentennial (150th) Anniversary, October 01, 1935, and the brochure/program for the Deerfield Academy's new dormitory which was held over to July 3rd at the bequest of the school's headmaster, Frank L. Boyden.

Buckland Congregational Church 150th Anniversary Program
Buckland Congregational Church
150th Anniversary Program
The Announcement Card/Invitation for the 1932 Deerfield Academy Event
The Announcement Card / Invitation for
the 1932 Deerfield Academy Event
The Event was extended to July 3rd, we believe, for
upcoming Alumni weekend and other post-year events.

Bonus Material

Photograph of the Elm and House from around the time Woodward painted it.
Photograph of the Elm tree and House
from around the time Woodward painted it.

The house seen in this painting was built in 1783, on a tract of land that in 1686 was designated as Deerfield communial land until 1759 and is affectionately referred to as "The Little Brown House" on Albany Road in Old Deerfield near the Academy. By the 1880's and '90's the house was in terrible condition.

In 1890, George Sheldon a 'Preservationist' and founder of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association (1870), one of the first preservation societies in the country wrote and published a book on the home's history and restoration titled The Little Brown House on Albany Road.

The Elm Tree along the house derives its name from the numerous 'Hitchcocks' that lived there throughout its history, the most prominent being Edward Hitchcock who taught at the Deerfield Academy, rising to become its principal (1815-18) and then on to teach at and become the president of Amherst College in 1845. The bookstore at the academy is named after him.

"The Little Brown House" also served as the studio of George Fuller (1822 - 1884) was an American figure and portrait painter. As can be seen from the photograph to the right, one of the more impressive features of "The Little Brown House" was its large east facing window which could serve as a great 'artist window.'

The Little Brown House from the front
"The Little Brown House" from the front

For more about Deerfield artist George Fuller you have two options, first there is this link to the, Nation Gallery of Art profile or you can view this link to Wikipedia: George Fuller (painter)

One can read The Little Brown House on Albany Road in its entirety on this link to the Smithsonian Library website.

Woodward painted the house and elm tree two other times, please see August Shade and Hitchcock Elm for more