6 Bridge Street Lambertville, NJ 08530 United States 609.397.7700
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Documentation Signed
Documentation Notes Signed lower right
Origin United States, Pennsylvania
Period 1920-1949
Materials Oil on masonite
W. 20 in; H. 24 in;
W. 50.8 cm; H. 60.96 cm;
Condition Excellent.
Creation Date Circa 1935
Description Signed lower right. Complemented by a hand carved and gilt frame.

John F. Folinsbee (1892-1972)

One of the finest painters to embark upon the New Hope Art Colony, John Folinsbee, did so in 1916. Born in Buffalo, New York, he was an active young man who enjoyed playing sports and swimming like most. In the summer of 1906 while on a family vacation in Sea Cliff, Long Island, Folinsbee (nicknamed Jack) felt extremely tired while swimming in the bay. Barely making it back to shore, he collapsed stricken with Polio. Almost taking his life, the attack left his legs paralyzed and his right arm badly weakened. Polio would confine him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Making bad times even worse, one week later Jack’s older brother was killed in a diving accident. Learning to deal with adversity, Folinsbee made the best of his situation.

Deciding not to let this handicap keep him down, he enrolled at the Arts Student League in Woodstock, N.Y. under the tutelage of Birge Harrison and John F. Carlson in 1912. These two men would prove to be powerful influences in the development of his career. It was there that Folinsbee met his lifelong friend and the best man in his wedding, fellow artist, Harry Leith-Ross. .

Folinsbee married Ruth Baldwin in 1914 and in 1916, upon the suggestion of Birge Harrison the couple moved permanently to New Hope. Jack and Ruth had two daughters together named Beth and Joan. Folinsbee said of Harrison, “I perhaps owe more to Mr. Harrison in the development of my work and the influence of his friendship on my character then to any other man”, and of John F. Carlson, “I am very grateful of the instruction given to me by John Carlson. I needed it.”

In 1924 Folinsbee bought a piece of property along the Delaware River on Main Street in New Hope where he had a home designed and built by artist and architect, Morgan Colt. This remained his home and studio for the rest of his life.

Folinsbee, early in his career (1912-24) painted in a heavy impressionist style with tightly applied broken brush strokes similar in technique to the works of Childe Hassam. In the mid and later 1920’s and into the 1930’s his brush strokes broadened. Folinsbees’ figurative works from this period have a strong Ashcan feeling. In the late 1930’s and into the 1940’s, his strokes became even broader and eventually he employed the use of a palette knife for the application of paint.

In the summer, Folinsbee would often travel to Maine with his family. There he would load his equipment into his small boat and head out to paint. Folinsbee learned to adapt to almost any situation not allowing his disability hold him back. There are few artists of twentieth century American painting that rival the ability of this man. He was truly one of New Hope’s finest.

Folinsbee’s work has been represented in numerous important National exhibitions from 1913-1970 and was the recipient of many medals, prizes and awards. His work is in the permanent collections of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Rhode Island School of Design, National Academy of Design, Phillips Collection (Washington), Corcoran Gallery of Art, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, New Jersey State Museum, Princeton University Art Museum, Philadelphia Art Club, Reading Art Museum, the National Art Club, and the James A. Michener Museum among others.

Sources: New Hope for American Art by James M. Alterman
Styles / Movements Impressionism, New Hope School
Dealer Reference Number JOLNJ1110201642
Incollect Reference Number 196645
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