A Connecticut man is poised to make millions after he found hundreds of artworks by an abstract artist known as “New York’s wrapper” in a dumpster.
Auto mechanic Jared Whipple was alerted to the trove of paintings and other artwork by Francis Hines by a contractor who was clearing a barn to be sold in Watertown in September 2017, CT Insider reported.
Whipple later found out that the artwork was created by Hines, a Washington, DC-born artist who lived in Connecticut and New York before his death in 2016 at the age of 96.
“Hines is really New York’s wrapper,” art curator and historian Peter Hastings Falk told the news outlet about the abstract expressionist’s tactic of wrapping fabric around objects.
Hines wrapped more than 10 buildings in the Big Apple, including the Washington Square Arch, JFK Airport and the Port Authority Bus Terminal, art historian Peter Hastings Falk told the news outlet.
Hines, whose art has been compared to that of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, also wrapped installations around Europe, including the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
The hundreds of pieces of art — including paintings, sculptures and small drawings — is collectively worth millions of dollars, Hastings Falk told the outlet, adding that the “wrapped” paintings can be sold at around $22,000 apiece and his drawings at around $4,500.
Whipple initially planned to hang the artwork in his indoor skateboard park called “The Warehouse” for Halloween, but decided to contact people in the art world when he realized who was behind the trove of pieces.
“I’ve always been a mechanic and I’m known in the skateboarding world but not in the art world. So trying to get people to even open your emails and take you seriously was a huge challenge,” he told CT Insider.
Muldoon Elger, a retired art dealer in San Francisco who had exhibited Hines’ work in the 1980s connected Whipple to Hastings Falk.
“I was so intrigued. I went there to his garage to look at the paintings. I was just really surprised at what I saw,” Hastings Falk told the outlet.
Last year, Whipple showed some of the pieces at a gallery in Waterbury and recently decided to sell some of the art.
He is collaborating with New York City-based gallery Hollis Taggart on exhibits in New York and Connecticut in shows beginning next month.
Whipple did not reveal exactly how many pieces he retrieved from the trash but said there are some he won’t sell.
Since finding the treasure trove, Whipple has contacted Hines’ family, who, he said, has allowed him to keep and sell the art.
“I pulled it out of this dumpster and I fell in love with it,” Whipple told the news outlet. “I made a connection with it. My purpose is to get Hines into the history books.”