In 2017, a Watertown, Connecticut barn was deemed abandoned. The impending sale of the estate required that the contents of the barn be liquidated. A contractor was hired, a dumpster was brought in and the barn was to be emptied. Contractor, George Martin was tasked with clearing out the items, some of which were canvases wrapped in plastic – hundreds of them. After examining the canvases, Martin recognized some of the images as car parts. Rather than letting the dumpster’s contents be hauled away to a landfill, he first reached out to a friend who was an auto mechanic. His thought was that maybe his friend would be interested in seeing the work prior to disposal.
Jared Whipple, a local auto mechanic, examined the work and was immediately taken by it. So much so that he rescued the work and began researching the artist. In an instant, this auto mechanic became art historian, curator, and collector. Whipple discovered that the work was created by Francis Hines. Hines, who died in 2016, was known as an abstract expressionist and for his Christo-type wrapped buildings and landmarks from the 70s done in New York City. The work, which Whipple acquired from the dumpster, was Hines’ life’s work. The collection was being stored in the Connecticut barn on the property where Hines had lived when he was outside of New York City. After the discovery, Jared Whipple spent years researching Francis Hines life and work, locating and interviewing friends and family members. Surprisingly, Francis Hines two living sons allowed Whipple to keep the work which he rescued.
Jared Whipple has taken on a noble cause with a new found purpose. In Whipple’s own words, ”My purpose is to get Hines into the history books.” The art world owes George Martin and Jared Whipple their gratitude, if not for them, Francis Hines’ work would have been lost forever. Lucky us!
“Unwrapping the Mystery of New York’s Wrapper” Francis Hines work can be seen from May 5th to June 11th at Hollis Taggart Southport, 330 Pequot Avenue in Southport, Connecticut.
New Business Development / HR Director