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 Cove at Chewonki, Oil on Masonite, 16 x 24, Signed    
Curator's Comments: Folinsbee's (1892-1972) painting came with an attached Chewonki
label in his hand, and that locale 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.  Folinsbee formed the New Hope Scientific Society, a poker and social group of
New Hope creative talent, including Garber. 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, John Fulton 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, $300,000 continues to move higher.
Now a nature preserve
The long cove at Chewonki
The artist, ca. 1938
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FOLINSBEE'S MAINE IS AS POWERFUL AS MARIN'S