New signs in Buckland, Heath honor legacy of late painter Robert Strong Woodward

  • Late painter Robert Strong Woodward (1885-1957), pictured in front of his Redgate studio at 44 Ashfield Road in Buckland.

  • An archival photo of the Hiram Woodward Place at 3 Woodward Road in Buckland.

  • Late painter Robert Strong Woodward (1885-1957) is pictured at the Pasture House at 182 Flagg Hill Road in Heath. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

Staff Writer
Published: 9/10/2023 1:09:06 PM

To help visitors learn about 20th-century painter Robert Strong Woodward’s mark on the area, the Friends group dedicated to keeping his memory alive has installed new signs at the locations of his Buckland and Heath studios.

“We just think he is a great painter,” said Janet Gerry, a member of the Friends of Robert Strong Woodward. “He deserves to be more widely known and appreciated.”

Following two semesters of studio art in high school and a year studying at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School in 1910, Strong Woodward (1885-1957) spent the majority of his working life as a landscape artist in western Massachusetts.

Despite a life marked by tragedies — such as the accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound at age 21 that left him permanently paralyzed from the chest down, and losing three of his studios and one of his homes to fires — he dedicated his time to painting recognizable landscapes of the area and won notable accolades for his work.

The three locations marked by new commemorative signs are Redgate, Strong Woodward’s first studio at 44 Ashfield Road in Buckland; the Hiram Woodward Place, Strong Woodward’s second studio and home at 3 Woodward Road in Buckland, a location that took its name from his fourth cousin twice removed; and the Pasture House at 182 Flagg Hill Road in Heath, a rustic studio built in 1941 that served as a beloved retreat for picnics and the scene of many paintings.

The buildings at all three sites burned to the ground.

By visiting the three locations, people can learn about Strong Woodward’s life and witness for themselves the landscapes that inspired some of his nearly 800 known pastel and oil paintings.

Gerry noted some of these sites are located on private property, but all the property owners have given their consent to allow people to come and read the signs. Gerry said she thinks it would make a great day trip to visit these sites and experience firsthand where Strong Woodward’s inspiration came from.

“More than six decades after his death, Robert Strong Woodward’s paintings retain a freshness and immediacy that have not become even slightly dated or stale,” reads a statement from Gerry announcing the new signs. “Woodward’s art is notable, above all, for its sense of place.”

Some of Strong Woodward’s prize-winning paintings include “Between Setting Sun and Rising Moon,” which won him the First Hallgarten Prize in 1919 for best artist under the age of 35; “New England Drama” from Hog Hollow Road in Buckland, which won the Boston Tercentenary Gold Medal in 1930; and “New England Heritage,” which earned him second place at the Contemporary American Oils show in Boston in 1932.

One painting, “Winter Dignity,” was purchased by poet Robert Frost. Other clients included Hollywood luminaries Jack Benny, Gracie Allen and Beulah Bondi.

Southwick Place, located on Upper Street in Buckland, housed Strong Woodward’s final home and studio. The site is included on the National Register of Historic Places.

Reach Bella Levavi at 413-930-4579 or


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.

Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261


Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy