Felrath Hines


Felrath  Hines Biography

American (1913-1993)

The story of the post-WWII American art world is today being rewritten to include the contributions of women and artists of color. One of these artists is Felrath Hines (1913-1993). Born at a time when segregation--including in the art world--was the norm, Hines was a noted artist and conservator. The New York art world was small when he arrived there in the early 1960s, especially for African American artists, who were routinely marginalized by prestigious galleries and museums. Hines’s fellow artist Romare Bearden invited him to join as a founding member of Spiral, a group of African American visual artists who initially met in response to the civil rights movement in the early 1960s.  The group included Norman Lewis, Richard Mayhew and Hale Woodruff, among others.

Yet, Hines refused to be pigeon-holed by race. He eschewed the title of "black" artist. Indeed, In 1971, he declined an invitation from the Whitney Museum of American Art to participate in the groundbreaking exhibition, Contemporary Black Artists in America, citing a desire to be exhibited with artists of all backgrounds.

Hines was a colorist above all else. His work was primarily abstract. One critic wrote: “Hines balanced a universal, almost Platonic, language of reduction with an insistence on the primacy of individual expression – and for Hines, it was abstract by necessity.” Hines knew and was true to his premise that “each person paints out of the life he lives.”

Hines was a noted art conservator and, indeed, assisted in the conservation of Monet's Water Lilies at the Museum of Modern Art.