"Painted in 1932 or 3. Carter's farm in Buckland on Town Farm Hill. Made a chalk drawing of same thing, owned by Miss Elise Biddle Robinson of Philadelphia (now Mrs. Harold Paumgarten). Also a 25 x 30 canvas owned by Harold W. Grieve, noted decorator of West Hollywood California. Made COURAGE AND PEACE from smaller canvas. Bought and owned by Mrs. William H. Moore, 4 East 54th St., N.Y. City, from Macbeth Exhibition in 1935."
"......a vigorous and arresting picture, it embodies a high form of art not only by reason of its bold originality and masterly technique, but because it carries with it by implication a team philosophy of art in its relation to life. It has so synthesized those two aspects of life which give the production its name that we are lead to perceive the victory of life as attained only by experiencing its tragedy."
" one artist, recently returned from Paris, said that no landscape seen in any European gallery could surpass in convincing power Mr. Woodward's Courage and Peace.
"A most impressive painting in the exhibit at the Weldon Hotel is Woodward's noteworthy conception Courage and Peace, a wide sweep of old farm buildings across the foreground, and beyond them the Buckland hills rising into the majestic blue. It is a winter scene with heavy snow upon the ground and that wonderful sense of cold which Woodward knows so well how to express in his paintings."
See also Peace and Courage for a related piece of work.
In April 1928, Jeanette Matthews description of Near the Sky bares a striking resemblance to the piece Courage and Peace and may very well be an earlier version, but we cannot say for certain her description is the Avery Farm. See her description below...
"Because it has the place of honor, because it treats of a theme that has also been done in crayon and because it really is the most moving canvas in the show, 'Near the Sky' ought to be considered. I have remarked before that Mr. Woodward shows more gift for naming his pictures than is usual among artists. This is a particularly felicitous title. It is a bare winter scene in the hills where one looks across the buildings of a farm, buildings set end to end so that they make a straight line across the picture parallel with the cold hills behind them. Such immensity of sky it would seem impossible to get into even a big canvas like this. It is stark and cold and bare in that picture, but it leaves you tingling because it is 'near the sky.' The crayon from the same theme is softer, just a shade softer in the blue of the hills, a hint less compelling, more to be lived with when one's courage is not quite at top notch and that one Mr. Woodward calls New England! Winter." [Emphasis added by staff.]
Besides the obvious difference in size, Courage and Peace (36 x 42) has numerous contexual differences with Peace and Courage noted below in the side by side images. We do not have a reason for these differences. Woodward was known to do this from time to time with copies, most noteably The Greening Tree (16 x 20) and The Greening Tree (27 x 30).
This was the original farm of James Avery (after whom the road it is located on was later named). He developed the two largest oxen in the world and toured them about the country for exhibitions and fairs. He became famous for the photograph below sitting in a rocking chair on big Mack (left). Jim later moved his farm and the oxyen down to "the mill section" of Buckland near the little red school house, a larger farm with much more and much better land.
For more about the farm and it's famous resident bulls, "Mack," the lagest ox in the world at the time and "Teddy," together considered the "Best Pair of Oxen in the World CLICK HERE