Born March 14, 1892, Buffalo, New York
Died May 10, 1972, New Hope, Pennsylvania
. . under [Folinsbee's] brush subjects that would not rise above the commonplace with lesser artist become beautiful and powerful. . . . -Peyton Boswell, 1922
John Folinsbee came to New Hope in 1916 at the suggestion of tonalist painter Birge Harrison. He and his wife, Ruth, helped to found the Phillips Mill Community Association in 1929. Primarily known as a landscape painter, he also did portraits. His early impressionist landscapes employ light colors. Following a 1926 trip to France, Folinsbee began to use darker, brooding colors, and his work became more expressionist in approach. Known for his paintings of shad fish along the Delaware River in Lambertville, the painter also depicted the factories around his home and the Maine seacoast.
At the age of 14, Folinsbee was stricken by polio while swimming and very shortly thereafter, his older brother was killed in a diving accident. These two tragic events deeply influenced Folinsbee's way of depicting bodies of water. In his paintings, the water has a deep, moving and powerful quality.
Known for his paintings of shad fish along the Delaware River in Lambertville, the painter also depicted the towns, shorelines, factories and countryside around his home in Bucks County and the Maine seacoast.