Quick Reference

Time Period:
Painted prior to 1930

Purinton's Hill
Buckland, MA

Oil on Canvas



30 x 36

"Largely Exhibited"

Robert Frost



Though purchased by Robert Frost, it was later returned in exchange for another painting after Frost wife's death.

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Featured Artwork: Winter Dignity

RSW's Diary Comments

"Painted prior to 1930. A winter canvas with quite a history! The blue dome of Purinton's Hill against a winter sky of light clouds, a band of dark pines and hemlocks slanting down in the middle ground before it, over a snow laden winter foreground of slight knolls with winter weeds breaking here and there through the snow. Largely exhibited and praised and bought by Robert Frost from my exhibition at Amherst College in... Much loved by him and his wife and the center of his famous living room in Amherst for a number of years. After his wife died, and he had moved to Cambridge, Robert Frost, to my amazement, wrote me that since his wife had been so fond of this painting, for sentimental reasons he felt I would understand (though I somewhat failed to do so) he would like to know if he could exchange Winter Dignity for another canvas of mine. He being Robert Frost I couldn't possibly say no, though I

RSW's hand written notes

didn't approve of the transaction wholeheartedly. I sent a number of canvases to the Vose Galleries for "his selection and from them he chose the 30 x 36 Passing New England which he now owns and I took back Winter Dignity to the studio where it still is, in 1947. White and Wychoff Mfg. Co. made a colored Christmas card of this for their 1948 series."

Additional Notes

Newspaper and magazines commonly mixed up the names. The Woodward records indicate that the artist preferred the oil to be titled Winter Dignity.

North Adams Transcript, March 1, 1931

"Dignity of Winter, a picture of luminous color quality which shows austere pines and cedar set against a snowy hillside."

The Breeze, June 5, 1931

Dignity of Winter is full of power and silence. Standing in the deep snow of the foreground, we look across a tree-shadowed valley to a snow-patched mountain in the middle distance.

Poet Robert Frost

Holyoke Transcript - June 10, 1932

"The poet-laureate of New England---the title is not undeserved---otherwise known as Robert Frost, bought last winter a New England landscape painted by the artist whom we readily call the laurel-crowned painter of this same region, Robert Strong Woodward. Mr. Woodward, now recognized as in the front rank of living landscape painters of America, exhibited for ten days in the Standish Galleries in Boston last February, for another ten days in Amherst a little later, and is to be again on view at Deerfield Academy during the ten days beginning June 6th. He has received many prizes at the large exhibitions of Pittsburgh, Chicago, New York and Boston. Those who know his work and who read Robert Frost declare that the combination of the New England poet and the New England painter could hardly have been more felicitously displayed than in the poet's purchase of the magnificent study, Dignity of Winter, and find that the artist in color has more than a superficial kinship with the artist in words, in the sensitive insight and understanding of our region which they both depict.

Out of this happy kinship there certainly emerges a reason for great thankfulness and rejoicing among all lovers of New England. We have loved it so long unexpressed. We have longed so to have its loveliness, its poignant atmosphere, its poetic appeal caught and made in some way permanent. We have listened again and again in vain among the poets of an older day for the note that to us was so plainly audible in the region, and have looked again and again among the artists for just the color, the line, the shadow, the inexpressible something that our eyes behold---our inward eye as well as the outward! Nowhere until now have we found just New England between the covers of a book, or on canvas there upon the wall, like a window opening out upon a well-loved landscape. In the paintings of Mr. Woodward and the poems of Mr. Frost all these things are ours to keep. 'Memory,' says some other poet, 'is the only garden from which nothing can ever drive us.' In the same way, nothing can ever separate us from New England if we know the paintings and the poems of these two laureates who celebrate her beauty with so faithfull a skill."


We transcribed this article because the original clipping is darkened and blotchy, however, to see the original clipping Click Here

This painting was made into a Christmas card by White and Wychoff and titled Snow Symphony.

This scene also appears in The Dignity of Winter

See Snow Symphony, another name for this painting.