American, 1892-1972

"Huckster's Cart", 1922-1924

oil on canvas
signed lower left "John F. Folinsbee"
32 x 40 inches

  • Provenance: Ruth Baldwin Folinsbee; Property from a distinguished American collection.
  • Literature: Kirsten M. Jensen, "Folinsbee Considered," (Easthampton, Massachusetts: Hudson Hills Press, 2013), pp. 168-169, pl. 19 (illustrated in color as the centerfold spread); p. 240, cat. entry.; Kirsten M. Jensen, "Huckster's Cart, 1922–24," John F. Folinsbee Catalogue Raisonné, www.johnfolinsbee.org, cat. no. JFF.1047.

    Framed dimensions: 40 x 47 3/4 x 2 1/4 inches

    As biographer Kirsten M. Jensen notes, Folinsbee started his career with a splash. By 1915, at the age of 23, he had already had his first solo exhibition, his first traveling exhibition, important gallery representation at Macbeth in New York, and his first award from a jury in a national exhibition. During his lifetime, works sold for five-figure sums to important collectors and museums in Chicago, Cleveland, Houston and Los Angeles and his paintings were exhibited at international venues as representative of American art.

    Folinsbee always intended to be an artist, attending children's classes at the Art Student's League of Buffalo at just nine years old. His family moved to Boston where Impressionists Frank Weston Benson and Edmund Tarbell dominated the art scene. In 1906, he had Polio and left the city to recover with his relatives in Plainfield, New Jersey. There, he met Jonas Lie, a strong advocate of plein air painting. Folinsbee spent a few months with Lie before moving to attend the Gunnery school in Washington, Connecticut.

    In Connecticut, Folinsbee was encouraged to continue painting landscapes by Frank Vincent Dumond and the writings of Birge Harrison who was then at Woodstock. Motivated by Harrison's writings, Folinsbee first arrived at Woodstock in the summer of 1912 and would return in 1913 and 1914 and in the winter between those years. Folinsbee boarded at Birge Harrison's house and was exposed to Harrison as a mentor even though he was no longer actively teaching. Together with Harry Leith-Ross the young artists stayed in Woodstock under the tutelage of Harrison in the winter between 1913-1914.

    In 1914, Folinsbee married and two years later moved with his wife, Ruth Baldwin, to New Hope, Pennsylvania. Edward Redfield, Daniel Garber, Robert Spencer and William Lathrop were already painting there and Folinsbee would join their ranks as a member of the now coined New Hope School or the Pennsylvania Impressionists.

    Of the present lot Jensen notes, "The huckster and his cart were regular fixtures of small-town life in the early twentieth century, bringing fruit, vegetables, and other necessities to the doors of their customers. They also provided interesting subject matter for artists like Folinsbee and Robert Spencer, who depicted a huckster's visit to New Hope in 1913 (The Huckster's Cart, Art Institute of Chicago). Folinsbee's earlier renderings of the New Hope huckster are painted in high-keyed color laid in short, thick strokes that create a woven effect. Huckster's Cart demonstrates a significant advance in Folinsbee's color and brushwork, as well as a new structural approach to his subjects–a transformation that would become more pronounced in winter landscapes like Lehigh Canal and Village in March."[1]

    Folinsbee's work was regularly included in national exhibitions of American art. He was elected as an associate member of the National Academy in 1919 and a full academician in 1928. Today his work can be viewed in numerous public collections including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the New Britain Museum in Art in Connecticut and the Princeton University Art Museum in New Jersey.

    [1] Kirsten M. Jensen, Folinsbee Considered, (Easthampton, Massachusetts: Hudson Hills Press, 2013), p. 240.

    Tags: listed artist, oil painting, 20th century, Pennsylvania Impressionism, New Hope, American Impressionism
  • Condition: in overall excellent condition; lined canvas; a few very minor dots of restoration apparent under UV; faint stretcher bar mark apparent along top edge

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