John Fulton Folinsbee (1892-1972)

John Fulton Folinsbee (1892-1972)

Born in Buffalo, New York, in 1892, John Folinsbee had moved with his family to Boston by 1906, but after contracting polio he was sent to recover at the home of his aunt and uncle in Plainfield, New Jersey. Folinsbee’s illness left him wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life, yet he confronted and overcame this adversity with his engaging personality and zest for exploring and pursuing his art to the fullest.

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From tonalism to impressionism to expressionism, Folinsbee remained a realist through and through, and imbues each canvas with a clear sense of place. While his name would eventually fade in some art circles beginning in the mid-1950s as abstraction and pop art dominated New York exhibition venues, he found comfort in Maine where his landscapes became more contemplative and reflective of an inner mood or feeling, and purchased a farmhouse in Montsweag in 1950. Thereafter he alternated between Maine and New Hope, before passing away in 1972.

Folinsbee earned numerous awards throughout his very prolific career from venues including the Salmagundi Club, the Pennsylvania Academy, the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, the National Arts Club, and several prizes from the National Academy alone between 1916 and 1952. Museums eagerly acquired examples of his work during his lifetime, and today his paintings can be found in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art in Maine, and the Dallas Museum of Art, among many others.

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