Quick Reference

Time Period:
Painted in 1934.

Pasture of the Keach farm
Charlemont Road, Buckland, Mass.

Oil on Canvas


Pastures, Farms

30 X 36

The Boston Herald Bldg, May '34
Williston Academy, 1934
Concord (MA) Art Association, '34
Binghampton (NY) MFA, 1934
Macbeth Galleries (NYC), 1935
Jordan March Galleries, 1935
Deerfield Academy, 1935

Mr. and Mrs. Alfred P. Lowell



"One of the finest of my paintings, to my mind..." RSW

Related Links

Featured Artwork: From a May Pasture

RSW's Diary Comments

From a May Pasture
A close up picture of RSW's signature

"Painted in 1934. Painted from Keach's pasture of their twin barns, the last spring before my fire, for Mr. Bowlen of Roger, Bowlen and Lunt, at his request, but he died just as the canvas was finished and to everyone's surprise his widow and family refused to honor the order. One of the finest of my paintings, to my mind; was generally exhibited and illustrated and finally bought by Mr. and Mrs. Alfred P. Lowell of 64 Mt. Vernon St., Boston---from my exhibition at the Vose Galleries, Boston, Mass. "$600 less 25%= $450"

Clipping from the Boston Herald, August 26, 1934
From a May Pasture Article
Note that this clipping in the Boston Herald
appears just months after the painting hung in
the Herald's headquarters in Boston.

Comments on the back of a sepia print:

"Fine, solid modeling of foreground, so you feel and sense the rocky earth."

"This is the painting I made in May, by the direct request of Mr. William Bowlen of Holyoke, who suddenly died while it was still fresh on the easel before he ever saw it. It has been hoped, up to just within a day or two, that his widow, Mrs. Bowlen, would still purchase it. She admires it, with great intensity---but last Saturday, to my deepest disappointment, she came to the studio returning the painting. (She had asked to have it come to her home from Easthampton,) saying that until the estate was settled, she dared not spend the $750---although that was the price that Mr. Bowlen had agreed to pay for it. It is unquestionably one of the finest pieces of painting I have done. The photograph looks rather dull and heavy, whereas it is subtle with delicate spring yellows, and pinks and early green, with a lucid brilliant sky and one of the finest modeled foregrounds I ever painted. One feels the rocks and construct of the earth elements under the thin new pasture grass. Sometime I hope you see this in the original. It is 30 x 36."

Comments in a notebook by RSW:

"Sent by R. R. Express, in one crate, From a May Pasture thru J.W. McBrine, packer, 162 Newbury Street, to go to the Jordan Marsh Company for their Annual Art Week Exhibition, held at their Department Store. Paintings there are insured during exhibition. The exhibition is supposed to be for one week from April 7th to 13th but every year, so far, they have kept the show over for two full weeks."

"June 19, 1935. A crate was sent to Newport, Rhode Island, to enter an exhibition held by the Art Association of Newport, 76 Bellevue Ave. From a May Pasture 30 x 36 (Exhibition July 13th to August 3rd."

Additional Notes

Unsourced Clipping from 9 April, 1935
Unsourced Clipping from 9 April, 1935

To the right: is an article that just may be the detonator that caused quite a riff between RSW and his friend artist Stanley W. Woodward. Not only did Stanley leave his coastal haunts around Rockport, MA, to paint Woodward's beloved Halixfax House but when this painting AND Stanley's Halifax House painting, And Life Goes On, exhibit at the 1935 Jordan Marsh show the clipping to the left CLUMPS them together like they are brothers, and gives more attention and praise to Stanley's Halifax House calling it "one of his best".

And Life Goes On
Stanley W. Woodward's And Life Goes On, 1935
from the unknown magazine it appears in

Excerpt from the article:

The Woodwards, Robert Strong and Stanley, are related only in their aiproach to their mutual choice of subject matter; the shifts of summer light over old farm buildings. Robert Strong Woodward sends a canvas shown in his memorable exhibition of last summer at the Concord Art Association. It is 'From a May Pasture,' and reveals in impeccable allegiance to farm detail the epic of life and lazy quiet afternoons in springtime pastures of Vermont. Stanley Woodward shows one of his best canvases, also a New England scene. 'And Life Goes On,' is a crumbling red farmhouse, too old and tired to be spruce any longer even under the encouragement of the clear yellow sun falling on its every sagging clapboard, the artist investing this inevitable decay with an antique charm.

Making matters worse, not only did And Life Goes On, outshine one of RSW's favorite paintings (above), but the reviewer adds insult to injury by stating, "related only in their approach to their mutual choice of subject matter." This is not entirely true. Wikipedia introduces Stanley with this, "Stanley Wingate Woodward (1890-1970) was well recognized for his marines and seascapes. He was the author of "Adventures in Marine Painting" (1948) and "Marine Painting in Oil and Watercolor" (1961)." Robert Strong Woodward rarely painted a "seascape." In fact we do not have example to show you. We know of one chalk drawing of Oyster Bay on Cape Cod made for friends he was visiting. To travel to Halifax, Vermont to paint the house Robert Strong used as an editorial of plighted New England crossed a line as far as he was concerned and he let Stanley know about it. As an aside, just a couple years later, Yankee Magazine mis-appropriates Robert Strong's painting, House in Halifax to accompany a poem about coastal Maine without his permission derailing a featured profile on Robert Strong for nearly three years. Really, we are not making this up!

And Life Goes On, goes on to be the centerfold of the New York Herald Tribune's Sunday magazine on 6 April, 1940. If you open up the enlargement of the image above, you will see the fold. For more on this and Woodward's relationship with Stanley W. Woodward, CLICK HERE