The Life and Art of Felrath Hines
174 pages
English

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174 pages
English

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Description

Felrath Hines (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.


The Life and Art of Felrath Hines: From Dark to Light chronicles the life of this exceptional artist who overcame numerous obstacles throughout his career and refused to be pigeonholed because of his race. Author Rachel Berenson Perry tracks Hines's determination and success as a contemporary artist on his own terms. She explores Hines's life in New York City in the 1950s and 60s, where he created a close friendship with jazz musician Billy Strayhorn and participated in the African American Spiral Group of New York and the equal rights movement. Hines's relationship with Georgia O'Keeffe, as her private paintings restorer, and a lifetime of creating increasingly esteemed Modernist artwork, all tell the story of one man's remarkable journey in 20th-century America.


Featuring exquisite color photographs, The Life and Art of Felrath Hines explores the artist's life, work, and significance as an artist and as an art conservator.


Foreword


Acknowledgments


A Sense of Wonderment: The Abstract Paintings of Felrath Hines by Jennifer McComas


1. Pivotal Decision: New York City, 1946-1959


2. Back to Beginning: Indianapolis, 1913-1937


3. Getting the Spark: Chicago, 1937-1946


4. Becoming a Conservator: New York City, 1960-1965


5. Spiral and "Black Art": New York City, 1965-1971


6. Coming into His Own: Chief Conservator and Working Artist, Washington, D.C., 1972-1980


7. Full Time Painter: Washington, D.C., 1980-1993


8. Life After Death: 1993-2017


Epilogue: Perspectives on Felrath Hines by Floyd Coleman with Julie L. McGee


Plates


Appendix 1: Chronology


Appendix 2: Felrath Hines CV


Index

Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 01 janvier 2019
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780253037343
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 2 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0950€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Exrait

the life and art of
FELRATH HINES
the life and art of
FELRATH HINES
from dark to light
Rachel Berenson Perry
INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS INDIANA HISTORICAL SOCIETY PRESS
This book is a publication of
INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
iupress.indiana.edu
Indiana Historical Society
2018 by Rachel Berenson Perry
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z 39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Perry, Rachel Berenson, author.
Title: The life and art of Felrath Hines : from dark to light / Rachel Berenson Perry.
Description: Bloomington, Indiana : Indiana University Press : Indiana Historical Society, 2018. Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2018021722 (print) LCCN 2018022077 (ebook) ISBN 9780253037336 (e-book) ISBN 9780253037312 (hardback : alk. paper)
Subjects: LCSH : Hines, Felrath, 1913-1993. Painters-United States-Biography. African American painters-Biography.
Classification: LCC ND 237. H 633 (ebook) LCC ND 237. H 633 P 47 2018 (print) DDC 759.13 [ B ] -dc23
LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2018021722
1 2 3 4 5 23 22 21 20 19 18
donors
Heartfelt thanks to the following donors for supporting this project:
Patrons
Doctor Steven Conant
Dorothy C. Fisher, Holly Sanford, and Charlotte Sanford Mason
Sponsors
Eckert and Ross Fine Art
The Honorable Clayton A. Graham and Christine Garrott Krok
Jim Fuller and Ken Cornette
Suzanne Jenkins
Kevin and Rhonda Waltz
Donors
John Antonelli
Mark and Nancy Ruschman
Chris and Ann Stack
Bret Waller and Mary Lou Dooley Waller
Rosamond W. Westmoreland
To Dorothy C. Fisher
contents
Foreword
Acknowledgments
INTRODUCTION : A SENSE OF WONDERMENT : THE ABSTRACT PAINTINGS OF FELRATH HINES BY JENNIFER M c COMAS
1 PIVOTAL DECISION : NEW YORK CITY , 1946-1959
2 BACK TO BEGINNING : INDIANAPOLIS , 1913-1937
3 GETTING THE SPARK : CHICAGO , 1937-1946
4 BECOMING A CONSERVATOR : NEW YORK CITY , 1960-1965
5 SPIRAL AND BLACK ART : NEW YORK CITY , 1965-1971
6 COMING INTO HIS OWN : CHIEF CONSERVATOR AND WORKING ARTIST, WASHINGTON, DC , 1972-1980
7 FULL-TIME PAINTER : WASHINGTON, DC , 1980-1993
8 LIFE AFTER DEATH : 1993-2017
EPILOGUE : PERSPECTIVES ON FELRATH HINES BY FLOYD COLEMAN WITH JULIE L. MCGEE
PLATES
Notes
Appendix 1: Chronology
Appendix 2: Felrath Hines CV
Index
foreword
Rachel Berenson Perry
I FIRST BECAME AWARE OF PAINTINGS BY FELRATH Hines in 2003, when I became the fine arts curator for the Indiana State Museum. One of Hines s mature paintings, Arctic (1986) (see insert, plate 01 ), had been donated to the museum s permanent collection the previous year. The more I looked at the asymmetrical painting of pale blue and gray shapes, the more intriguing it became. A trapezoid outlined in white and halved by subtle shades of ash, appears to lead into a squared-off chute. Cold stillness, suggested by the title, brings to mind an ice jam. Every decision in the composition, from the trapezoid points that project off canvas, to the unexpected asymmetry of every shape, reveals precise yet playful consideration.
Six years later, in 2009, then Indianapolis gallery owner Mark Ruschman put me in touch with Dorothy Fisher, Hines s widow. Dorothy was in the process of dispersing her deceased husband s work to selected public institutions throughout the nation. Impressed by the quality inventory, well organized into digital images accompanied by exhibition information, I was thrilled to be able to select five large oil paintings for the museum: Quarry (1952), Moon Craig AKA Trinity (1958), The Wave (1961), Focus (1982), and Northern Light (1983).
In my brief correspondence with Dorothy, the intriguing idea of writing a biography of Felrath Hines came up. At the time I was covered up-writing a book, T. C. Steele and the Society of Western Artists , for Indiana University Press; working full time (which involved a three-hour commute); and caring for my elderly mother.
Fast forward to 2013. Retired from the ISM, I had written and published a biography of William J. Forsyth, among other projects. While reviewing old notes in search of a new project, I became so enthused about the idea of writing a book about Hines that I wrote a letter to Dorothy, hoping her address was still accurate. She called within three days.
Writing a biography about Hines (or Fel, as he was known by colleagues and friends) involved copious research (with a lot of help from family and dedicated Fel fan and researcher, Suzanne Jenkins) and steep learning curves. A very private person, Hines did not talk about his personal life to many, and he never wrote about it. Although he carefully documented conservation projects, and kept painstaking notes about oil colors and compositions during his painting process, he was not interested in recording the trials and tribulations of his personal journey.
Howard University art historian and artist Floyd Coleman interviewed Hines for many hours during the last two years of his life, and he mentioned to me that the amount of time Fel spent talking about himself (and not about art or his paintings) added up to about half an hour. Tapes of those interviews were subsequently lost, most acquaintances (particularly those from his early days in New York) are gone, and the artist seldom wrote (or saved) letters. What remained were some family anecdotes, detailed reference notebooks of exhibition reviews and relevant newspaper articles (compiled by Jenkins and later augmented by stepdaughters Holly Sanford and Charlotte Mason), and the undeniably significant body of Hines s artwork in public and private collections.
Though an art curator by profession, my area of expertise-the impressionistic paintings of early twentieth-century Hoosier Group artists-hardly qualified me to write about abstract artwork. More of a public historian, I have always been wary of formulating art-history theory. I had assured Coleman, who had been working on an art history treatise about Hines for many years, that I was primarily interested in writing a biography.
Added to the dearth of personal information about Hines was the elephant in the room-the fact that I am a senior white woman writing about a black man s life. The comment of Indianapolis Crispus Attucks Museum curator, Robert Chester- What can you possibly have to say about the black experience? -offended me at first. Later it became clear that his question was justified. As I learned more and more about racism, white supremacy, and the still-existent apartheid America, as Coleman called our country during a 2015 interview, I slowly began to get it.
How, indeed, can a white woman, who grew up in a small Indiana town with few blacks and limited awareness of her own privileged academic upbringing, possibly imagine a life of unrelenting marginalization? Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient John Hope Franklin wrote in his autobiography, In my early years there was never a moment in any contact I had with White people that I was not reminded that society as a whole had sentenced me to abject humiliation for the sole reason that I was not white.
How could I write about the life of an African American? Reading books written in the 1950s and 1960s (such as The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Black Like Me, Invisible Man, Really the Blues , and Cane ) and histories of African Americans (such as Black Saga: The African American Experience; Mirror on America; A Lynching in the Heartland; Polite Protest: The Political Economy of Race in Indianapolis; and Indiana Blacks in the Twentieth Century ) filled me with overwhelming feelings of shame and guilt.
It became obvious to me that things have not improved in America. Again, Franklin noticed the difference in the 1960s and 1970s, after being abroad, that De jure racism had fallen, only to be replaced by de facto racism. The resistance to any significant modification of the age-old patterns of race relations seemed only to increase with every suggestion of real change . The dream for blacks was always deferred. Franklin did not live to see the elections of 2016 and resulting giant step backward in race relations.
In the spring of 2017 I was in the Brown County Art Gallery near closing time, waiting for a friend who works there. A swarthy man came in with his small daughter and I welcomed them, explaining about the video showing each artist s photograph, along with one of their paintings. We chatted and I discovered that he was Moroccan, recently hired to teach Arabic and French at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. After a few minutes, he lowered his voice and said, Do you mind if I ask you something? Is it okay for us to be here? Some people have warned us about small towns in Indiana.
A disturbing story about Hines was his late-life admission to his stepdaughter, Holly Sanford. Even after becoming well established and highly respected, he said that, in a room full of people he always felt that someone might tap him on the shoulder a

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