Works in the Collection
Felrath Hines was born in Indiana in 1913. At the encouragement of this mother, he began studying art at an early age, taking Saturday art classes through a scholarship from the John Herron School of Art. After high school, Hines worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps, and later the railroad. It wasn’t until 1945 that he began his formal art training, enrolling in the Art Institute of Chicago and studying design. He then relocated to New York to work as a fashion designer. While in New York, he was invited by fellow artist Romare Bearden to join Spiral, a group of African American artists working in response to the civil rights movement. Throughout his career, Hines resisted the idea of a distinct “black art” defined by style or subject matter and sought a more universal imagery through abstraction.
Hines was also well known for his conservation, and he opened his own private practice in 1964. His many clients included the Modern Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Whitney Museum. He was the first African American to work as a conservator for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Hines was also great friends with the artist Georgia O’Keeffe, and she entrusted him with the conservation of a number of her paintings. His own work can be found in a number of collections, most notably the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.