A mechanic in Connecticut found a gold mine of hundreds of pieces of artwork in a dumpster at an abandoned farmhouse in 2017 and it turns out those pieces are worth millions.
In September 2017, Jared Whipple got a call from a contractor friend who was getting a barn ready for sale out in Watertown, the Smithsonian Magazine reported. Whipple went out to the barn and he found the dumpster stuffed with hundreds of pieces of art, some dirty, others covered in plastic paintings.
Whipple said, “[W]e were not able to wrap our heads around what we saw. It was gut-wrenching and very upsetting for us to get to see what looked like a lifetime of somebody’s artwork being thrown into dumpsters and heading for the landfill,” the Smithsonian Magazine stated.
Whipple decided that some of the collection had to live on, so he picked it up and took it home. Most of the paintings were signed “F. Hines,” but he was eventually able to find one canvas that contained the full name of the artist, Francis Mattson Hines. Whipple did his research and was able to track down Hines’ family and gave him permission to keep the artwork.
Hines’ work had “wrappings” on the pieces, which is a tactic first popularized by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. As it turns out, Hinds wrapped many landmarks in the United States, including the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the Washington Square Arch in New York, the Smithsonian Magazine said.
Hines eventually retired to Connecticut and passed away in 2016 at age 96. He left his life’s work behind in his barn. His work has largely been forgotten since then. Not now, as Whipple is working to change that. Between May 5 and June 11, the Hollis Taggart exhibition will showcase and offer for sale roughly 35 to 40 pieces of the art he found in a dumpster.
It is not clear exactly how many pieces of artwork Whipple saved from the dumpster, but he has stated there are a few pieces he just won’t sell. According to Artnet, the paintings that will be offered for sale next month at the show will go between $12,500 and $20,000 each. In total, the entire collection that Whipple picked up that day could be worth millions. Dumpster diving doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?