Quick Reference

Time Period:
Painted 1918

Four Mile Square Road
East Charlemont,
Charlemont/Colrain line, MA

Oil on Canvas


Barns, Houses

25 X 30

National Academy of Design, 1918
J.H. Miller Co., Springfield, 1921

J. H. Miller Co. as part of a "whole-
sale lot" of several paintings the
gallery purchased from Woodward.
It is unknown who J.H. Miller sold
the painting to from their gallery.



One of RSW's earliest known works of art. The third painting in Woodward's career to exhibit publicly.

Related Links

Featured Artwork: The Golden Barn

RSW's Diary Comments

The artwork's title from the back of the frame.
The artwork's title from the back of the frame.
RSW's signature without the iconic red S
RSW's signature without the iconic red S

"Painted 1918. One of my earliest paintings after I'd been painting but a year or two. Gardner Symons, having just seen my work urged me to send to the National Academy Exhibition. I thought this far beyond my scope as yet, but took a dare, and sent this canvas and it passed the jury and was hung! (The N.A. D. Exhibition of 1918.) I felt like a very big man! An old barn against the woods, weather beaten and golden with age, a farm at the foot of Catamount Hill Road (over by N. River Bridge Road) owned at the time by Mrs. Tenant. After it came back to me from the N.A.D. Exhibition, it was bought, with a lot of 6 or 8 other of my canvases (for $1000 for the lot) by the J. H. Miller Co, 31 Harrison Ave., Springfield, Mass. I do not know who finally bought it. The sugaring picture, acquired by F. Earl Williams from J.H. Miller Co., was of this same 'lot' mentioned above."

Editor's Note:

We know very little about this wholesale purchase of 6 to 8 paintings by Woodward to the J.H. Miller Galleries in Springfield, MA for a thousand dollars. It feels outrageous the Woodward would do this given his asking price for 40" x 50" painting is nearly $500 in 1919 to $1,000 in 1922. This is not as large a painting suggesting the price was probably around $200. Another painting in this lot is New England Valley, a 20" x 30" oil that exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia. There was also, Early Moonlight, a 30" x 25" oil. If all the 6 to 8 paintings are about the same size that would make the price paid for each painting to be approximately $166 for 6 or $125 for 8. We imagine if Miller was buying in bulk it was likely Woodward gave him a bulk price. It is most likely this would be for six painting, however, depending on Woodward's need for cash at the time, eight is not out of the realm of possibility.

Miller must have then acted as an agent for Woodward soon after. We know that Miller was also the go between the artist and George Walter Vincent Smith, the director of the Springfield Museum for the purchase of his first painting to be bought by the museum in 1921 and it was a 40" x 50". In 1922, Smith and Woodward, through Miller, are squabbling over price for the third painting, Under the Winter Moon, to which Woodward claims,

"My statement of $600.00 was the lowest at closing figures which would let me live the seven and a half weeks it took to paint it." Six hundred is half the asking price of $1,200.

Smith did eventually get the painting for the Springfield Museum. The question is, did Woodward get his price? We do not know.

Additional Notes

The inventory tag from the Academy exhibit
The inventory tag from the Academy exhibit.

In February of 2009, we received the following E-Mail:

Hi. My auction house has a Robert Strong Woodward painting entitled "The Golden Barn" up for auction next Thursday. There have been some questions raised regarding the signature because it is so different from some of his other works so I started doing a little research and came upon your site. The diary entry for this painting makes total sense. There was an inventory tag from the Academy exhibit on the back of the painting that has since fallen off but is still with the painting. There is also a label from the J.H. Miller company on the back of the painting. I have attached pictures for you. Any additional information you can provide would be greatly appreciated. If you would like additional photos, please let me know. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

The auction house (Olde Tyme Stuffe) most likely questioned the signature because it was without RSW's iconic red "S," however, this painting was one of his earliest and he had not yet established his trademark signature until after 1922.