Quick Reference

Time Period:
Painted in 1939.

Location:
Heath Pasture, Heath, MA

Medium:
Oil on Canvas

Type:
Landscape

Category:
Beech Tree, Pastures

Size:
25 X 30 (Recorded)
27 X 30 (Most likely)

Exhibited:
Made specific for purchaser

Purchased:
Jack Benny

Provenance:
NA

Noteworthy:

Owned by Jack Benny and his wife Mary Livingstone.

Related Links

Featured Artwork: From a Hill Pasture

RSW's Diary Comments

From a Hill Pasture, Sepia
From a Hill Pasture, Sepia

"Painted in 1939. Again my Heath Pasture beech tree, made in blues and yellows to color scheme given me of the living room of Jack Benny and his wife Mary Livingstone, movie and radio stars, and bought by them for their new house (decorated by Harold Grieve) at 1002 N. Roxbury Drive, Beverly Hills, California."



RSW's signature from this painting
RSW's signature from this painting

Additional Notes

The home of Jack Benny
A photograph of Jack Benny's living
room at 1002 N. Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills, CA.

There is a number of discrepancies regarding this painting and its sister Distant Hlls and Valley. Here is what we know, ❶ RSW painted this painting specific to his close friend, interior designer Harold Grieve's, color scheme for the Benny living room. We also believe ❷ he painted a copy to sell locally. He often did this when he knew a painting was sold a good distance away. We now have records showing a painting named Distant Hlls and Valley sold at auction through Boston's Skinner Galleries in the 1990's and that the picture above was sold at auction in Georgia in the past decade. We believe this ❸ establishes that there are two paintings, near identical in composition.


The problem is... RSW entered the name From a Hill Pasture in his painting diary but not Distant Hlls and Valley. This was not uncommon for him when it came to copies of paintings, but given that From a Hill Pasture was going direct to its owner, it is unlikely he wrote the name on the back of this painting and so we do not have a confirmed name of the painting above.


The next issue is that auction houses often (too often) have the bad habit of not looking for a name on the painting and make up their own name for the painting. We have come across this issue on a number of occasions, even AFTER we give them the correct name! There is NO record of a painting titled Distant Hlls and Valley ever exhibiting anywhere. We have NO record of it in the painting diary and we do not know its whereabouts to date. All we have is a grainy image from the Skinner catalog. We often use cloud patterns to identify painting titles. Very few Woodward skies are identical and these two skies match perfectly.


So, is this the SAME painting? Are there TWO paintings? If there is just one painting, how did it end up in Boston from Califronia and then make its way to Georgia? Could it be that the original is still in California and this painting of both Boston, then Georgia the copy?