Life
Car mechanic finds hundreds of art pieces in abandoned barn that could be worth millions
He knew right away that these pieces were anything but trash...and he was right.
Luis Gaskell
05.03.22

Have you ever felt anxiety from throwing away something that could be potentially very valuable? Antique furniture, old paintings, cutlery, and so on. Well, put yourself in this guy’s shoes.

This is Jared Whipple, a mechanic from Connecticut. He stumbled upon incredibly valuable artworks from a forgotten artist, that he almost just discarded.

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It was September of 2017 when the mechanic was looking into an old farmhouse. Beside it was a dumpster with some bizarre items in it. They were colorful and seemed to be wrapped in a bizarre fashion – as if the wrappings were done precisely with deliberate patterns.

They were works of art – and abstract art by the looks of it. Jared was informed of them in the dumpster But if they weren’t pieces of junk, why were they just left here in this old dumpster?

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Jared learned of the discarded artworks from a friend, George Martin. It was strange to find all this art just left behind here. He wrote:

“It was gut-wrenching and very upsetting for us to get to see what looked like a lifetime of somebody’s artwork being thrown into dumpsters and heading for the landfill.”

It was time to try and ID who the artist was, which could be a hit-or-miss endeavor given how long the pieces were abandoned. There was a clear, recurring theme in the art pieces. Mechanical imagery and plastic paintings, specifically.

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Whipple had to do his homework to see who made these.

Artists tend to sign their works, which proved a good starting point. Upon checking the works for a signature, he found an answer.

Most of the signatures just read “F. Hines”, which was getting him somewhere.

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It wasn’t until he found a piece from 1961 that showed the full name. It read “Francis Mattson Hines”.

With this new info, Jared did the next important thing. He contacted associates of the artist and learned a lot more from there. Hollis Taggart said of the works:

“I’d never seen work like this, with physical wrappings on the canvases themselves, over imagery that was quite professionally done.”

Hines style of using those “wrappings” weren’t started by him. They were also used by Christo and Jeanne-Claude before him. Like with any art style, the artist takes inspiration from life and the works of those who came before them.

Whipple was granted permission to keep the artworks, which he had future plans for. It was good that they were safe and sound now.

But what happened to Hines himself? Well, the artist had passed some time before Whipple found his work. The late artist spent the last years of his life in Connecticut and passed away in 2016 at the age of 96.

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His legacy will live on, though. Thanks to Whipple and the Hollis Taggart gallery who will exhibit his works and put some of them up for sale.

Such was the legacy of many other great artists before Hines, but that’s the beauty of art. It lives on.

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Who’d have thought that such a valuable piece of art and legacy was left to decompose in a dumpster. Though Hines may not be around anymore, I’m certain he’d be smiling at the story that had transpired here.

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By Luis Gaskell
hi@sbly.com
Luis Gaskell is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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