Works by Francis Hines at the Mattatuck Museum – Hartford Courant

Five works by Francis Hines that were part of a stash rescued in 2017 from a dumpster in Watertown will be on display from April 22 to June 15 at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury.

The treasure trove of paintings, drawings and sculptures was found by George Martin of Naugatuck while “picking” on the grounds of a recently sold barn. He told his friend, Jared Whipple of Waterbury, about it. Whipple retrieved the works, hoping to find out more about them.

After years of research, Whipple determined that “F Hines”, the signature on the paintings, was Francis Hines (1920-2016), an Abstract Expressionist who painted in New York and Watertown. He was known for his “wrapping” style similar to Christo. He wrapped the Washington Square Arch in 1980.

Elements of the collection were exhibited in September 2021 at the Mattatuck. The latest exhibition, titled “Discovering the Packing of New York: The Art of Francis Hines,” will feature a comprehensive series of five studies created for a Union Square Park public installation created by Hines. One of these series was presented to the museum in an exhibition in 2021, and the other four were not.

Eventually, Whipple’s research led them to art historian and appraiser Peter Hastings Falk, who says that Hines is “an artist who just can’t slip through the cracks of art history forever. ‘art”.

“Hines was unique among American artists because his abstract sculptures and paintings were the first to express the dynamic energy that occurs in the tension of materials under tension. Hines’ wrapping style differed significantly from that of his better-known counterpart, Christo, and he was the only artist to ever wrap buildings and landmarks in New York,” Falk said in the museum’s announcement.

The museum said that “at the time of his death [Hines’] his accomplishments had been all but forgotten and his name was mostly unknown until his canvases were rediscovered and rescued from the dumpster by Whipple and Martin in 2017.”

Hines’ work will also be featured at the Hollis Taggart Gallery in Southport, when the exhibition “Francis Hines: Unwrapping the Mystery of New York’s Wrapper” runs from May 5 to June 11. The Southport exhibition will show paintings and archival material, including photographs and project drawings. It will have a complementary exhibition in the Taggart gallery in Manhattan.

More information at mattmuseum.org and hollistaggart.com/exhibitions.

Susan Dunne can be contacted at [email protected].

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