A mechanic went hunting for car parts in a skip and discovered a stack of artworks worth £2million.
Jared Whipple, had been tipped off by his friend George Martin about items being cleared from an old barn in Connecticut.
He drove up a few days later and found the waste removal team stacking a series of large canvases, including watercolours, pastels and drawings, into skips.
Each painting had been wrapped in plastic several years earlier that was starting to go yellow, but Jared was still entranced by them.
‘It was something that fine art had never done to me before,’ he said. Jared loved the pieces so hauled them out and took them home, thinking he would hang them in his large garage.
But when he spotted a signature, he enlisted the help of an art historian and appraiser, who discovered the works were the life’s work of Francis Hines.
Now the art including watercolours worth up to £50,000 a pop — are to go on show, with 30 offered for sale by the finder.
‘When I heard how much it was worth, I was beyond shocked and excited but also a bit in disbelief,’ said Jared, 40.
‘It’s something I have a hard time wrapping my head around still, seeing how hard I work and how much money I take home each year.’
He added: ‘I was sad to see a lifetime of creativity being trashed but excited to be able to rescue it and hopefully let it see the light of day again.’
Jared will be putting over 30 of the artworks up for sale during the exhibition in in Connecticut and New York next month.
But the rest will continue to be stored in his warehouse space or exhibited in museums.
Hines is best known for wrapping the Washington Square Arch in polyester fabric in 1980, and lived in both the West Village and Connecticut.
Some of the paintings and sculptures found in the barn were wrapped in the same material.
He wrapped a number of buildings in New York as well as at JFK Airport and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
He had stored his life’s work in a property in Watertown, which was only cleared out to be readied for sale after his death in 2016 at the age of 96.
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