This Week's Featured Auction
Florida Highwaymen Artwork
Who were the Florida Highwaymen?  The following is an excerpt from FloridaHighwaymenPaintings.com:
In the early 1950’s through the 1980’s a group of twenty-six African-American artists painted beautiful landscapes that displayed the serene, undeveloped Florida landscape of their time.  Today these artists are known as the “Florida Highwaymen” and because of the tranquil scenes and history involved, their original paintings are highly demanded by collectors and enthusiasts.

The Florida Highwaymen used vivid and bright colors in their paintings to display the beautiful untouched Florida landscape.  They painted wind-bent palm trees, serene sunsets, churning oceans and bright red Poinciana trees.  These paintings looked great on the walls of businesses and homes.

The original Florida Highwayman, Alfred Hair, was introduced to a prominent white artist named A.E. “Bean” Backus in the early 1950’s.  Under the arm of Mr. Backus, Alfred was encouraged to paint landscapes and realized that he could make a living doing it.  Alfred encouraged several of his friends to begin painting as well, and soon the Florida Highwaymen became a sort of social group.

The Highwaymen Artists knew they could make a living painting, but they knew they had to be different.  Mr. Backus was a prominent white artist and could sell his paintings for hundreds of dollars in galleries and shows; no gallery would show the work of unknown, self-taught African-Americans. Instead they painted from their garages and back yards on inexpensive Upson board and then on the weekends they would travel and sell their paintings to hotels, offices, businesses and individuals who appreciated the artwork for around $25 a piece.

In the 1980’s the Florida Highwaymen unofficially disbanded after consumer tastes changed.  But because of a recent surge in demand for their work several of the original highwaymen have come back to painting.

This small collection now selling with Littlejohn Auctions contains two Alfred Hair paintings as well as James Gibson, Willie Daniels, and Roy Lendon.  

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