Felrath Hines (American, 1913–1993), the first African American man to become a professional conservator for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, was born and raised in the segregated Midwest. Leaving their home in the South, Hines's parents migrated to Indianapolis with hopes for a better life. While growing up, Hines was encouraged by his seamstress mother to pursue his early passion for art by taking Saturday classes at Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis. He moved to Chicago in 1937, where he attended the Art Institute of Chicago in pursuit of his dreams.
Felrath Hines’s work can be seen at the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Detroit Institute of Arts, among others.
This painting was executed the same year that Hines retired in 1984. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, we see his abstractions morph into hard-edge geometries. An artist first and foremost, Felrath Hines (1913-1993) worked to create universal visual idioms from a place of complex personal experience. Though known to be “color blind” in his relationships with friends and acquaintances, Hines’s life in 20th century American society was as vibrant as his ever-more-subtle works of art. Hines’s figurative and cubist-style artwork morphed into soft-edged organic abstracts as he grappled with hues in his chosen oil medium.
Estate of the artist