Quick Reference

Time Period:
Painted in 1933.

Route 112
Buckland, MA

Oil on Canvas



36 X 42

Concord (MA) Art Association, '32
Concord (MA) Art Association, '34
Binghampton (NY) MFA, 1934
Macbeth Galleries (NYC), 1935
Deerfield Academy, 1935
Mt. Holyoke Coll. Dwight Hall, 1935
Weldon Hotel,(Greenfield, MA) 1935
Berkshire Businessmen's AL, 1936
Deerfield Valley AA, 1936
Pennsylvania State College, 1939

Mr. and Mrs. Clifford A. Richmond



"Late Sugaring... is a typical New England scene, with majestic maples and the familiar red farm house." North Adams Transcript

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Featured Artwork: Late Sugaring

Late Sugaring

Painted on Route 112 in Buckland. The home mentioned below belonged to Nathan Hale. School house located at corner of Purinton Road now demolished.

Click here for a high resolution image of painting

RSW's Diary Comments

"Painted in 1934. Painted from the road by the red brick school house of Stetson's (formerly Leavitt place). Trees and buildings. Bought Oct. 1945, by Mr. and Mrs. Clifford A. Richmond, 37 Park St., Northampton, Mass."

Except from an uncited source, most likely from the North Adams Transcript, found in RSW's business papers:

"According to Roy B. Peebles, secretary of the local club, it is only through the generosity of Mr. Woodward that the exhibit includes any of his work this year. Mr. Woodward is at present conducting a one-man show in a Boston art gallery, and, in order to help out the local club ordered that one of his finest paintings, Late Sugaring, be sent to the local exhibit from the New York Galleries where it has been hanging."

Additional Notes

Sept. 23, 1934, Boston Herald
Sept. 23, 1934, Boston Herald

Boston Herald, September 23, 1934, Concord Art Exhibit: (clip to the right)

" ... Late Sugaring is marked with the rhythms of repeated maples, and the red sugar buckets hanging at each tree ... "

An additional excerpt from the Boston Herald article:
[ all emphasis is ours]

"Here is surely one of the least fussy painters in the world, yet one who can and dares to paint the shadow in every clapboard, every shingle hanging from its rusty nail on the sides of weather beaten old houses, and never loses for a moment, the larger spirit of his canvas.

He paints the whole gamut of local color through the inclusion of sly thrusts and innocent details which, if omitted, make merely another painting, but which put in under his selective eyes set in a twinkling the tone and the humor and the pathos of vanishing relics."

Editor's Note: One of the best written descriptions of Woodward's treatment of his subject one will ever find.

A close-up of the bucket collection
A close-up of the bucket collection

North Adams Transcript, Fri., April 10, 1936

"Among the paintings of note which will be on exhibition will be Late Sugaring by Robert Strong Woodward of Shelburne Falls who is known throughout the country for his paintings of rural New England. Late Sugaring shows the gathering of sap and is a typical New England scene, with majestic maples and the familiar red farm house. It is a painting that breathes the friendliness of the rural districts."

Comments in a notebook by RSW: March 18, 1935. Took to Shelburne Falls, to H. R. Ashworth, the photographer, one oil painting, namely Late Sugaring to be left a few days to be photographed. March 26, 1935. Above painting Late Sugaring returned to the studio. March 28, 1935. Placed above painting Late Sugaring in Weldon Hotel, Greenfield, replacing In Old Boston which had been at the Weldon since Nov. 1st and which is now brought back to the studio. ."

A close-up of the school and farm
A close-up of the school and farm
The little red school house was later demolished

A personal remembrance, by MLP: "It was I who drove RSW in his big Packard down Route 112 to the site of this row of tapped maple trees where he made the above painting, Late Sugaring. I think it took him about three days to do the en plein air work on this canvas. Several days later I was driving him down the same road to do errands in Shelburne Falls when, in passing the site of the above painting, he loudly exclaimed in a voice of absolute amazement and disgust something about "who has done THAT to MY maple tree." We learned later that one of the young men living on his own street in Upper Buckland, had been speeding and lost control of his car and smashed into one of the maples, badly skinning off huge portions of bark. The automobile was "totaled", the old tree could not recover from the injury and had to be taken down the following year, and the young man gradually recovered after a strong letter of reprimand. But RSW was NEVER to forgive him. Subsequently, a few years later, the entire row of maples, including the little red school house, were demolished to make way for the new construction of Route 112."

Dr. Mark with RSW and in the background, Ethal Dow
Dr. Mark with RSW sitting in the Packard and
standing in the background is RSW friend Ethal Dow.

Recollection DISCREPANCY:

There is no possible way Dr. Mark could have possibly gone with RSW to this location in 1934. First, Doc did not start working for RSW until 1940. Second, he did not start driving for RSW until 1942. This painting was painted around late March, early April of 1934. Yet still, Doc's recollection is quite vivid. We do not think he made a mistake like this in 2012 when he wrote it. This now raises the question: Did Woodward return to the scene sometime after 1942 to paint another painting? If he did, what size was it and what painting did RSW paint those days with Doc? We do not know because Doc mistook this painting as the 1940-something painting. We can only hope this issue will answer itself eventually.