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We’re pleased to share this special tribute to Bronx native William P. Folchi (1922-1992), father of BX200 artist John Folchi. The blog post was submitted by his son Bill, who writes, “Here is a brief bio of my father that I had prepared for his exhibit at the library in Westchester Square. I am attaching some samples of his work from the 1950s and 1960s. All scenes are of the Bronx, and I would be delighted (as dad would have been) to see them posted on the blog.” Enjoy!
William P. Folchi was born in 1922 in the Belmont section of the Bronx. The family roots were from the Abruzzo-Molise region in Italy. At age 16 he began studying at the Art Student League of New York, requiring his parent’s permission to attend life drawing classes. He attended a few art classes at Cooper Union before being drafted during WWII.
Upon discharge he joined his father managing the auto motive repairs shops they had established in the Morris Park section of the Bronx. While working full time, he still managed to paint during the evenings and weekends. Many of the works are scenes of the neighborhood where he lived, depicting the homes, apartments, billboards and autos of the 1950s and 1960s. Other scenes depict the Hudson River Region, the Catskills and Lake George where he vacationed with the family.
He never exhibited during his life, nor expressed a desire to show the works publicly. Many were displayed in the family home, or given to relatives or friends. Twenty years after his death in 1992, his son, William O. Folchi, returned to live in the family home in the Bronx. Upon renovating the basement and garage, he discovered a cache of paintings never seen. Completed by his father, they were subsequently stored and forgotten. His son William began the process of conserving and restoring the work and embarked on a path to bring them to the public.
The first exhibition of the work, William P. Folchi: A Retrospective, was held in April 2012 at the Gallery of the Cultural Association of the Molise Region in Long Island City. A second exhibition was held at the Lehman College Library in December 2012. An expanded form of the exhibition was shown at the Huntington Free Library in the Bronx in February 2013, and a small selection of works produced in Putnam County, New York have been on long term loan to the Mahopac Public Library. His work is included in the collection of the Huntington Free Library and TV writer/director Tim Van Patten, and was the subject of articles in “Il Progresso” and the Italian Journal “Il Bene Comune.” -Bill Folchi