Quick Reference

Time Period:
1937-'38 or 1945-'46
There may be two paintings with the
same name: See Discrepancy

Southwick Studio

Oil on Canvas

Still Life

Window Picture

25 X 30

Amherst Coll. Jones Library, 1938
Grand Central Art Gallery, ???

Mr. Edward Johnson



"... acquired and owned from this show (Founders) by Mr. Edward Johnson, distinguished manager of the Metropolitan Opera Co. for his noted art collection." RSW

Related Links

Featured Artwork: By the Balcony Door

RSW's Diary Comments

"Winter 1945-6. An interesting window picture of part of the studio balcony glass door and little window to the right. Thick icicles outside and gray blue winter mountain beyond. Sold in April to the Grand Central Art Gallery for their Founders Show---and acquired and owned from this show by Mr. Edward Johnson, distinguished manager of the Metropolitan Opera Co. for his noted art collection."

Comments on the back of a sepia print:

"Owned by Mr. Edward Johnson, manager of Metropolitan Opera."


There are a number of conflicting facts regarding the year this painting was made with a multitude of explanations. At its core, all the points are valid for one year or another and so we believe it is possible that there are two paintings by the same name. Here is the information we have:

The exhibition list does not support Woodward's given year. There is no record of a painting by the name By the Balcony Door exhibiting at the Grand Central Gallery (GCAG).

There is a clipping from the Greenfield Recorder-Gazette reporting the purchase of the painting in 1946 by Edward Patrick Johnson, General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera.This is the only Corroberating evidence for 1945-'46.

Unfortunately, equally true is the fact that Woodward would paint something, exhibit it, then like it so much he keeps it for himself, then later when the right buyer appears, sells the painting years after it was made.

The GCAG's Founders' Show operates differently than a regular show. Paintings for the Founders' Show are purchased by the Gallery removing the artist from the sale. Woodward hated this because, more often than not, he never learned who bought the painting. If a painting does not sell at the original show the gallery will continue to try and sell the painting for as long as it takes because that is how they profit from the show.

The weakest point of the exhibition list is frequently the GCAG Founders' Show is under reported most likely because the gallery would just purchase one or two of Woodward's paintings for a show of numerous artist. While we have some Founder Shows in our records, there are a number that are not.

Its buyer, Mr. Johnson, does not help narrow the time period. Mr. Johnson becomes general manager of the opera in 1935 and holds the position until 1950 which is a wash. Both a painting in 1937-'38 or 1945-'46 is possible.

A painting by the same name did exhibit at Amherst College in 1938.

Fitting this timeline, Woodward moves into the Southwick Place in March of 1935. He christens the studio with his first Window Picture Painting the same month but does not begin to paint them regularly for another year or so making the 1938 year more accurate if it was painted in the winter of 1937-'38.

Though we can't explain Woodward's ommission of another painting with any satisfaction better it is also very possible, even most likely, that there are TWO paintings with this same name. A common and frustrating practice for us by the artist. The 1937 painting exhibited just once, probably sold and it was more than 3 years prior to starting his painting diary. He probably forgot about the 1937 painting. There are a surprising amount of omissions between 1930 and 1940 perhaps due to it being the busiest decade of his life at the height of his career.

Additional Notes

Time Magazine Dec. 21, 1936
Time Magazine Cover, Dec. 21, 1936

Greenfield Recorder-Gazette, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 1946

"Robert Strong Woodward, Buckland artist, has learned through the Grand Central Art Galleries of New York that one of his paintings, a studio window picture, By the Balcony Door, has been acquired by Edward Johnson, manager of the Metropolitan Opera, for his art collection."

Edward Patrick Johnson CBE (22 August 1878 - 20 April 1959) was a Canadian operatic tenor who was billed outside North America as Edoardo Di Giovanni, and became general manager of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

The balcony door from the Southwick studio
The balcony door from the Southwick studio today

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