Rescuing Gus gI was just down in Delray Beach Florida While I was there I visited the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum which is the former home of the late Solomon D Spady the most prominent African American educator and community leader in the city from the 20s through the 50s They were showing an exhibit of aroup of Florida landscape painters known as the Highwaymen whom I d never heard ofI liked the show so I bought this book and read it over the course of the next few days The Highwaymen were a Class of 92: Out of Our League group of young African American painters 25 men and one woman in and around Ft Pierce who produced approximately 50000 to 200000 landscape paintings from the 50s through the 70s The name Highwaymen wasn tiven to them until 1994 when art aficionado Jim Fitch coined the term While potentially pejorative because of the association with highway robbery the name is appropriate since the artists drove up and down Florida s coast to sell their paintings which they produced uickly in Portrait of a Starter: An Unhidden Story great numbers and primarily to make money Theyot their start when a young self taught black artist named Harold Newton was taken under the wing of a successful white Florida landscape artist named AE Beanie Backus Other young black painters from Ft Pierce followed in Newton s footsteps most notably Alfred Hair whose dream was to be a millionaire by the time he 35 Although he fell short of his How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly--and the Stark Choices Ahead goal he was murdered at the age of 29 Hair fulfill his dream of owning a Cadillac and supporting his wife and children with the money he made selling his paintings most of which he produced in less than an hour each Hair is fondly remembered by most of the people interviewed for the book as a charismatic and inspiring figure The Highwaymen often painted inroups and encouraged one another While their art is the type one might see hanging in bank lobbies over sofas in middle income homes and in motel rooms appreciation for it has rown income homes and in motel rooms appreciation for it has rown recent years Their paintings sold for around 50 when the oils were still drying around 5 at arage sales in the 80s and for than 1000 today now that collectors have taken an interest in their workMonroe s book is really wonderful It s not overloaded with text or portentous analyses of their work Monroe doesn t try to inflate their importance as artists He places their work
In Its Cultural Context He its cultural context he For the first time the real story behind the Highwaymen has emerged a well researched lively and comprehensive overview of the development and contribution of these African American artists and their place in the history of Florida’s popular culture Mallory McCane O’Connor author of Lost Cities of the Ancient Southeast The Highwaymen introduces a roup of young black artists who painted their way out of the despair awaiting them in citrus roves and packing houses of 1950s Florida As their story recaptures the imagination of Floridians and their paintings fetch ever escalating prices the legacy of their freshly conceived landscapes exerts a new and powerful influence on the popular conception of the Sunshine StateWhile the value of Highwaymen paintings has.
Gary Monroe ☆ 2 ReviewE 60 s and 70 s they are now collectors items
selling in the thousands Some nice insight into the informal roup of self taught painters that hawked their hastily painted Floridain the thousands Some nice insight Into The Informal Group Of Self Taught the informal roup of self taught that hawked their hastily painted Florida paintings to travelers and local businesses I ve been fascinated by the Highwaymen ever since I learned about them from my former Tampa Bay Times colleague Jeff Klinkenberg If I ever take up painting I want to paint like them not as hurriedly as they did but with bold brush strokes and palette knives evoking the feeling of unspoiled FloridaI ve had this book for uite a few years and even cannibalized it for a couple of prints that hang on my dining room wall I just read
it again and enjoyed it because I think I know theagain and enjoyed it because I think I know the better than I did the first time around Mainly this is a series of beautiful color plates of paintings and worth having just for that Gary Monroe also tells the story of the 26 African American painters based in Fort Pierce who hit on landscape painting as an alternative to menial jobs They weren t trying for fine art but they made something beautiful that people responded to They painted fast typically multiple paintings in a day and peddled them to businesses and tourists sometimes before the paint even dried They sold their paintings framed with crown molding for 25 or so starting in the late 1950s Business faltered in the 1980s but enjoyed a resurgence starting in the 1990s as their story became known Today paintings from those early years sell for thousands of dollars although fakes are a problemMany of the Highwaymen a roup that includes one woman are still painting and selling their work When I read this book though I can t help but feel sad about the premature death of Alfred Hair one of the After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire Since 1405 greatest What a colorful vibrant well formatted book Beyond this Monroe has done a service I wish interested artistsacademics would perform He has taken a niche interest of his and made a comprehensive starting point for others His knowledge is often based on first hand accounts He uses primary sources to explore thesereat Florida painters too often ignored because of their kitsch connotation Just a Alien Alpha great book If youet a chance but haven t otten to the book check out the paintings of Harold and Sam Newton Fascinating read about an interesting art culture in American History. Rid form of landscape painting corrupting the classically influenced ideals of the Highwaymen’s white mentor A E Bean Backus At first the paintings sold like boom time real estate In succeeding decades however they were consigned to attics and arage sales Rediscovered in the mid 1990s today they are recognized as the work of American folk artists Gary Monroe tells the story behind the Highwaymen a loose association of 25 men and 1 woman from the Ft Pierce area a fascinating mixture of individual talent collective enterprise and cultural heritage He also offers a critical look at the paintings and the movement's development Added to this are personal reminiscences by some of the artists along with a allery of 63 full color reproductions of their paintings . S it vernacular art and talks about the many things that make it special The bulk of the book is taken Up By Reproductions Of Highwaymen by reproductions of Highwaymen There are 59 plates that showcase work by most of the artists identified as Highwaymen with a focus on the work of Newton and Hair One of the interesting things about the a focus on the work of Newton and Hair One of the interesting things about the is that they worked from memory and imagination They didn t spend all day on site attempting to perfectly recreate the scene before them They used brushes palette knives and fingers to uickly and with the least amount of paint necessary create vividly colored impressions of the Florida wilderness they d rown up in Their art has no visible political context humans and buildings rarely appear in Highwaymen art which is probably why the Highwaymen were able to find so many buyers for their art as well as sell to white businesses and individuals in a volatile and desegregating South without any reports of violence or animosity What their art does do however is invite the viewer to participate in a shared experience of wonder Their depictions of Florida s natural beauty its volatile coastal weather and its unearthly sunsets and tricks of light are freuently stunning Astute essay Wonderful plates of the paintings The obvious strength of this book are the 60 or so high uality reprints of the art of the loose collective known as the Highwaymen Operative in Florida during the 50 s 60 s 70 s and 80 s They were rediscovered in the 1990s and since people have bee collecting their art What drew me to their story was a story about them on NPR a short while back I was intrigued by the images I found on the web I sought this book out The art is vivid and bold and appeals to an idealized and romanticized notion of Florida during that periodBut the relatively short narrative that leads into this book provided some valuable context and perspective historical notes what motivated the Highwaymen on the nature of their art and so on What is clear is that these were serious talented artists who sought to earn a living than to create high art Heard the author speak at my collegea fascinating roup of African American painters one woman among the men who painted uickly for money rather than high art yet their paintings beautifully evoke the Florida landscape and dreamscape Sold for 25 each in th. Soared in recent years until now no authoritative account of the lives
and work of these black Florida artists has existed Emerging in the late 1950s the Highwaymenwork of these black Florida artists has existed Emerging in the late 1950s the Highwaymen idyllic uickly realized images of the Florida dream and peddled some 100000 of them from the trunks of their cars Working with inexpensive materials the Highwaymen produced an astonishing number of landscapes that depict a romanticized Florida a faraway place of wind swept palm trees billowing cumulus clouds wetlands lakes rivers ocean and setting sun With paintings still wet they loaded their cars and traveled the state's east coast selling the images door to door and store to store in restaurants offices courthouses and bank lobbies Sometimes characterized as motel art the work is a hyb.