New York City
Unlike his African-American contemporaries, Felrath Hines saw little purpose in creating work that was typically (or even atypically) African-American art. Rather, he wanted to achieve a style he saw as universal and all-encompassing. He took this distinction as far as refusing to be a part of a black exhibition at the Whitney Museum of Art in 1971.
His dedication to this simplicity cost him standing among his contemporaries, and he was marginalized at a simple abstract artist for decades. Now, art critics esteem Hines as a chief figure in both Minimalism and Color Field, especially Hines later work.
Although simple, geometric forms and solid lines forms most of Felrath Hines work; his style is anything but simple. Heavily influenced by the Color Field painting of the 1950s as well as the Cubist Movement in the early 20th century.
Felrath Hines’s later work featured a more expansive selection of colors, but his initial popular work (such as Hines Four Square) contained little variation in pigments, relying instead on the viewer’s mind and simple lines to create a landscape. After his retirement as a conservator, Hines devoted himself full-time to painting. His work became more dramatic and emotional, with sharper contrasts and more complicated imagery.
Façade I, oil on linen, 1987 (Berkshire Fine Arts, North Adams, MA). http://www.berkshirefinearts.com/01-20-2010_felrath-hines-1913-1993-out-of-the-shadows.htm
Four Square, oil on canvas, 1982 (IU Art Museum, Bloomington, IN) http://www.iub.edu/~iuam/online_modules/aaa/artist.php?artist=5
Abstract Landscape, oil on linen, 1967 (Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.) http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artwork/?id=80360
Red Stripe with Green Background, oil on linen, 1986 (Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.). http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artwork/?id=80359
Schwalb, Susan. “Felrath Hines (1913-1993): Out of the Shadows.” January 20, 2010. http://www.berkshirefinearts.com/01-20-2010_felrath-hines-1913-1993-out-of-the-shadows.htm
Johnson, Ken. “Art in Review; Felrath Hines.” February 1, 2002. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/01/arts/art-in-review-felrath-hines.html
Fine, Jon. “On Modernism, Minimalism and Felrath Hines.” 2009. http://jonfinearts.com/ModernismEssay2.html