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This unfinished, unnamed and unsigned painting was believed to be intended to be part of the Francis P. Garvan Collection until the untimely death of Mr. Garvin. It is believed that is the reason why RSW did not complete the painting and eventually gave it to a personal nurse who worked for RSw in the 1940s.

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Featured Artwork: Unnamed: The Modest Church

Unnamed: The Modest Church

RSW's Diary Comments


Additional Notes

A clipping of the church

This unnamed and unsigned painting, initially attributed to RSW and later confirmed by his cousin, is of the Congregational Church on Plainfield Hill, Plainfield, MA. Though unsigned, the painting was accompanied with a typed note and signed by Woodward's cousin Florence Wells Haeberle dated 1979. It also came with a label containing the name, "Mrs. Elna Strong," on the stretcher and housed in its original stained gray frame. Mrs. Strong was a personal nurse to Woodward sometime in the 1940s to which he gave her the painting. We believe that Elna later brought the painting to Florence to verify its provenance.

The painting of the church itself along with several others were being made under commission by Francis P. Garvin. Garvin commissioned Woodward to seek out quintessential and beautifully structured New England churches to be exhibited in a series and added to Garvin's collection, later two be donated to Yale Univerity's Museum of Fine Art. Unfortunately for both Garvin and Woodward, Mr. Garvin would pass away before the contract was completed. In 2017 and old shipping crate containing 11 unfinished paintings and chalk drawings are found in an attic on the Woodward estate. One of the unfinished drawings was also of the Plainfield church, as well as, two drawings of the First Congregational Church of Deerfield, believed to be part of the Garvin collection Woodward was working on. There is also a sketch of the Plainfield church found among Woodward's sketch drawings.

It is likely that members of the Strong family sought confirmation from Woodward's cousin Florence in order to sell the painting. The painting was purchased by a private collector and later donated to the church itself where it hangs and is much admired.

See our related links section to view all the stories and paintings related to these notes.