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Artist Name:       John Fulton Folinsbee
Artist Dates:        1892-1972      
Painting Title:     
The Cove at Chewonki
Painting Date:     Undated
Medium:             Oil on Masonite      
Signature:            
Signed Lower Right
Provenance:        Private Collection
Condition:           Excellent     
Size Unframed:    
16 x 24
Frame Condition:  New Gallery Style
Artist Best Price:  $296,000
Offered At:           CALL     
Curator's Comments: Chewonki is now a land trust and nature conservancy of more than
three hundred acres, preserving some of the most beautiful rocky coves of the Maine Coast near
Wiscasset. Folinsbee summered nearby at the crossing called Murphy's Corner. But he is more  
identified with both the New Hope school of Pennsylvania's Bucks County and the Connecticut
Painters based in Old Lyme. He maintained close relationships with Birge Harrison of the
Connecticut School and with Garber and Redfield in New Hope. He worked under John Fabian
Carlson of the Cape Ann painters and also painted in Maine with Bellows and Luks, who often left
their New York circle to paint at Monhegan.  Beginning in 1935, Folinsbee summered regularly in
Maine. He went first to Montsweag, but in 1949, bought the house at Wiscasset's Murphy's Corner,
where he painted for the next twenty summers. Exposure to the rugged coast and the dark, cold seas
opened up a new area of interest for Folinsbee, and he began to paint seascapes,  influenced, so the
myth goes,  by the two tragic events of his childhood, both associated with water: His brother
drowned after diving into shallow water, and a week later, he was stricken with polio while
swimming, leaving him  wheelchair-bound. Painter Harry Leith-Ross, a close friend from his
Woodstock days at the Arts Student League, acted as best man at Folinsbee's marriage to Ruth
Baldwin on October 10, 1914. And in 1916, Folinsbee settled in New Hope at the suggestion of the
painter Birge Harrison. Ruth Folinsbee was involved with the founding of the Philips Mill Art Assn,
and Folinsbee chaired the Art Committee. Along with Edward Redfield, Daniel Garber, and writer
Henry Chapin, Folinsbee formed the New Hope Scientific Society, a social group of New Hope
creative talent. Folinsbee was also close with his son-in-law the architect Peter G. Cook,  author of
the major study of the painter.
Born in Buffalo, New York, in 1892, Folinsbee began his artistic training with Jonas Lie in 1907.
From 1912 through 1914, he attended the Art Students League summer sessions in Woodstock, New
York, where he studied landscape painting with Birge Harrison and John Fabian Carlson. In 1914, he
attended the school's main campus in New York City, where he studied with Frank Dumond. He
became a full member of the National Academy of Design in 1928 and also held memberships in the
Allied Artists of America, the Salmagundi Club, and the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts.
Folinsbee is another of our artists with two works in the Smithsonian. Other paintings are in the
permanent collections of the Corcoran Gallery, the Phillips Collection, the Pennsylvania Academy of  
Fine Arts, the National Academy of Design, among many others. The artist died in 1972. Folinsbee
was the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Isadore Prize, Salmagundi Club, 1920;  
the First Hallgarten Prize, National Academy of Design, 1923; the Jennie Sesnan Gold Medal, the
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1931; the First Altman Prize, National Academy of Design,
1941 and 1950. When Folinsbee won the Palmer Marine Prize at the National Academy of Design in
1951, he stated, "Now that I've won a marine prize, I might as well become a marine painter." He
was being ironic because he had started his career with a focus on the Delaware River in
Lambertville, long before his summers in Maine, where he depicted shad fisherman at work. But the
brilliance here is in the evolution of post-Impressionism in America. Folinsbee is in the lead when it
comes to transforming not only the impressionist palette, and he also works in Asian elements  with
an abstract thrust. The whole is reminiscent of America's greatest watercolorist, John Marin. And
Marin too favored the Maine coast summer after summer, though he worked more to the north at
Cape Split whose rugged tides number in the world's most powerful. But Folinsbee doesn't give up the
image at the same time that he reveals its power.The cove at Chewonki shows us Folinsbee at his
best, and we are very proud to offer this work. It unites the massive rocks of coastal Maine with their
bold, shallow rooted, but unafraid pines pointing skyward, while the icy cove water reflects all. The
mood is pre-historic, the scene has been there throughout the course of the conflict of ocean and
stone. And the struggle has not stopped the transient trees from rooting and reaching for the
sunlight--until the clash of sea and rock renews. Chewonki shows time within timelessness--in a
moment of respite that captures the observer. Folinsbee's highest price continues to move higher.
Now a nature preserve
The long cove at Chewonki
The artist, ca. 1938
Marin's powerfull
"Maine Coast"
Early Chewonki sketches
Folinsbee's "Coast of Maine
sold for $18,000 in 2004.
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