The Life and Art of Felrath Hines

The Life and Art of Felrath Hines

From Dark to Light
Rachel Berenson Perry, foreword by Jennifer McComas
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 01/01/2019
ISBN: 978-0-253-03733-6
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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.

Author Bio

Rachel Berenson Perry is the former fine arts curator of the Indiana State Museum, where she organized and curated all of the art exhibitions from 2003 through 2011. She is author of numerous articles for American Art Review and Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History (Indiana Historical Society) and was the winner of the 2014 Jacob P. Dunn Award for best article in Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. She is a well-known scholar of historical Indiana artists and author (with Selma N. Steele) of The House of the Singing Winds, finalist for 2016 INDIES book of the Year Award. Perry lives in Nashville, Indiana, where she writes books about Indiana artists and enjoys the ambiance and natural surroundings of Brown County.

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Table of Contents



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


Appendix 1: Chronology

Appendix 2: Felrath Hines CV