Millions of Dollars in Abstract Art Found in Connecticut Dumpster

An exhibit of the art begins next month

Francis Hines
The Washington Square Arch is wrapped by artist Francis Hines circa 1980 in New York City.
PL Gould/IMAGES/Getty Images

Sometimes valuable art can turn up in the most unexpected places. The David Bowie painting discovered at a thrift store not long ago is but one example, but it’s far from alone. And we might have just witnessed the apex of this phenomenon — and it all started in a dumpster on a Connecticut farm.

As the Connecticut Post recently reported, this all began in 2017. A mechanic named Jared Whipple got a call from a contractor friend of his who had found a dumpster full of paintings at a barn that in the process of being sold. (The article notes that the paintings had been considered abandoned.) Whipple immediately gravitated towards the paintings and grew interested in learning more about their origins.

What he found spanned decades of art history.

The paintings were the work of a painter named Francis Hines, who had died in 2016. Hines had a long career in the arts, and took part in some large-scale conceptual work — like wrapping the Washington Square Arch in 1980 — as well as painting.

In the years that followed, Whipple spoke with Hines’s family and his gallery, learning that the paintings could be worth millions.

A gallery show dedicated to Hines’s work is set to open next month at the Hollis Taggert gallery in Southport, Connecticut. Could this jumpstart Hines’s profile in the art world? There’s certainly a compelling story surrounding his work.

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