After about 1885, Murphy worked less from direct observation and more from memory, concentrating on, in the words of Charles L. Buchanan, a contemporaneous critic and Murphy enthusiast, “nature’s brooding periods, her aloofness from change and stress.” Buchanan explained how the artist was both painter and naturalist, yet spent three seasons of the year focused on the latter, communing with the landscape surrounding his country home in the Catskills at Arkville, New York, before finally putting brush to canvas after returning to the city for winter.
 “J. Francis Murphy, a Master of American Landscape,” by Charles L. Buchanan. International Studio 53 (July 1914), pp. iii-x.
More information about this painting...
Painted in 1892, The Road to the Farm is wholly characteristic of Murphy’s sensitivity to the moods and poetic quality of Nature. It was acquired by Vose Galleries in June of 1922, one year after hosting a memorial exhibition in honor of the late artist, and sold through Beard Art Galleries in Minneapolis to Mrs. Oliver T. Crosby in February of 1923. In a letter to Mrs. Crosby, Robert C. Vose congratulates her on the purchase, describing the painting as “an exquisite example [which] has been greatly admired by all who have seen it.” In 1923, Mr. Vose also wisely chose to house the piece in a handsome Carrig-Rohane frame, which has held up incredibly well over the last century and presents the piece in a way Murphy would have likely appreciated.
 Letter from Robert C. Vose to Mrs. Oliver T. Crosby, February 26, 1923
Collection of John Hodges, and thence to Mr. Hodges’ estate
With Fifth Avenue Art Galleries, New York, by 1895, and sold to
Mr. Hodges’ niece, Miss Mary Hodges Clark, Washington, DC, February 1895
Sold by Miss Clark to George Ainslee Galleries, New York, 1921
To Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. 6004, June 1922
Sold through Beard Art Galleries, Minneapolis, MN, March 1923 to Mrs. Oliver T. Crosby, St. Paul, MN, February 1923
By descent through the family to the collection of Mrs. Crosby’s great-grandson, private collection, Maine, and thence to his estate by 2018