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Robert Strong Woodward chalk drawing, 'A New England Afternoon,' Buckland, Mass.
TitleRobert Strong Woodward chalk drawing, 'A New England Afternoon, ' Buckland, Mass.
Full Size Image
SubjectWoodward, Robert Strong, 1885-1957; Color Drawing; Buckland (Mass.)
DescriptionChalk drawing made about 1919 titled, A New England Afternoon, by Buckland, Mass., artist Robert Strong Woodward (1885-1957). The scene depicts the Nilman house in East Buckland, Mass. Around 1940, Woodward did an oil painting of the same subject named, A Winter Afternoon, which was copied from this chalk drawing. Later, another painting from a slightly different perspective was made of this scene, and was named White Winter. All three images are shown in the alphabetic gallery at Robert Strong Woodward was born in Northampton, Mass., on May 11, 1885. His father's work as a real estate developer required the family to relocate often, and he moved from school to school around the country, from Springfield, Ohio, to Schenectady, New York, and beyond. But the Woodwards returned each summer to his grandparents' farm in Buckland. He entered Bradley Polytechnic Institute in Peoria, Illinois, in the fall of 1902, as a high school junior. Though some accounts state that he was preparing for a career in civil engineering, his courses were all in the liberal arts. Three years later, after finishing high school and a year of college-level study, Woodward joined his parents in California where he planned to attend Leland Stanford. But on September 3, 1906, at the age of 21, he suffered an accidental gun shot injury that left him permanently paralyzed from the waist down. He returned to New England in 1910 determined to make his living as an artist, and after several months at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School, Woodward settled in Buckland where he had put down roots during his boyhood summers. Woodward remodeled a small out-building on the farm of his uncle and aunt, Bert and Tella (Woodward) Wells, and named it Redgate Studio. Here he made his living drawing illuminations and book plates, until around 1915 when he began to follow his long-held ambition of becoming a landscape painter. This studio burned to the ground from an overheated wood stove in 1922, the week before Christmas. Woodward purchased the so-called Hiram Woodward place in 1923 (no relation), three quarters of a mile southwest of Redgate, and restored it to use as his second home and studio. In 1931, he bought a small building adjoining the property beside Clark Brook, known as Boehmer's Mill. Woodward called it, The Little Shop. Several years later, on July 3rd, 1934, the house at the Hiram Woodward place was struck by lightning and burned, along with his studio; only a barn survived. In 1934, Woodward bought another property on Upper Street in Buckland Center, with an old blacksmith shop that he had converted into a studio. Somewhat of a celebrity by this time, he entertained such luminaries as stage and screen actress Beulah Bondi and poet Robert Frost. His paintings were acquired by Jack Benny, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and many other admirers. He purchased a pasture on a mountaintop in Heath, Mass., in 1937, where he built still another studio. Here in innumerable canvases he made famous the beech tree outside his window. This studio burned in October 1950 from a fire of unknown origin. In these last 2 studios, Woodward created the majority of his professional creative works, including the much-sought-after window pictures. The last studio in Buckland is lovingly maintained in the same condition as Woodward left it when he died of stomach cancer on June 26, 1957. During his lifetime, Woodward acquired a national reputation and received numerous additional accolades. He is remembered as a vivid personality, possessed of enormous charm and a lively intelligence. Always a gracious host, he enjoyed the company of a large circle of friends.
CreatorWoodward, Robert Strong, 1885-1957
ContributorsSand, Pamela, Photographer
RelationFrom the collections of the Buckland Historical Society, Inc., P.O. Box 88, Buckland, MA, 01338,
Coverage42.60 N, 72.77 W
RightsDescription of drawing Copyright and/or Mark L. Purinton, used with permission; Biographical sketch of Robert Strong Woodward created by Janet Gerry, (author of Artist Against All Odds, The Story of Robert Strong Woodward, Paideia Publishers, Shelburne Falls, MA, 2009), bio created for dedication of a past Buckland Annual Town Report, used with permission; Photograph 2010 Buckland Historical Society, Inc., P.O. Box 88, Buckland MA 01338 email: ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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