“Painted in summer 1933. Most picturesque old New England house near Vermont line between Halifax and Colrain (above Elm Grove), A much traveled and lauded canvas, invited out to the Art Institute in Chicago, etc. One of my outstanding paintings I am certain. In the winter of 1940-1 Robert Frost, the poet, moved to Cambridge and wrote he wished to exchange the canvas he had purchased in 1932 Winter Dignity (which see) because of reasons of sentiment etc. due to the death of his wife and son, so this Passing New England along with many others, I sent down to the Vose Galleries for Mr. Frost to see. Among them he chose this Passing New England. So it is now owned by our most noted poet, Robert Frost.”
“My most powerful record of passing New England. A popular picture among museums and galleries, was invited to the Rhode Island School of Design, the recent annual at Pennsylvania Academy, Philadelphia, and has just been invited by Mr. Harshe to annual exhibition in October at the Art Institute of Chicago. This canvas is now owned by Robert Frost.”
This painting came up for auction at Skinner, Inc. on 5/12/89. Low estimate was $2,500, high estimate was $3,500. Sold for $2,762.
"June 19th, 1936: Packed in a crate and sent to Macbeth Galleries, 11 East Street, New York, (through W. S. Budworth the packers at 424 East 52nd Street: Passing New England 30 x 36."
Robert Frost was a contemporary and close friend of artist Robert Strong Woodward and
owned at least two of this paintings. Critics of the day frequently compared these two men as artists of words and print. Frost
owned an oil painting during his professorship at Amherst College which was called Winter Dignity. When his wife died he wrote
to Mr. Woodward that she had so loved the painting that he would like to exchange it...it saddened him too much to view it. This
was done. I personally drove to Amherst to pick up the painting and later drove three other paintings to the Vose Gallery in Boston
for Mr. Frost to make a choice. He had by then had given up his professorship at Amherst, and moved to Cambridge. The painting he
selected was Passing New England.
I am now searching for the whereabouts of this painting, hoping to at least obtain a digital color image of it for my web site. All I have at present is the sepia print illustrated above. Do you, my reader, have any information about this painting? Perhaps you could refer me to a descendent of Mr. Frost who may know what might have happened to it. I would very much appreciate it if you contact me (email link below) with any information you might have.
Mark Purinton, Founder