Highwaymen / A.E. Backus / Florida
The history of Florida’s Highwaymen is a captivating one. The inception took place in Fort Pierce, Florida with a group of young African-American artists that grew to 25 men and 1 woman.
Motivated by the fact that 1950’s Florida held very little future for them, they conceived a novel idea that would prove to be a bonanza.
Being enterprising as well as talented, and knowing full well that there was no way to lure buyers to them, they decided to reverse the situation and bring their art to the public.
They loaded their cars, and traveled the state selling door-to-door. They went to restaurants, offices, churches, even courthouses and banks. Fruitful and creative, they spared no avenue of opportunity.
On the heel of this innovative concept “The Highwaymen” emerged. But as often happens, there was a flip side; the first booming success was followed by a period of waning after Al Hair’s death in 1970.
Then suddenly in the 1990’s their fame was reborn. They regained their place in the sun—and ardent fans are creating a perpetual demand.
The paintings of the Highwaymen are now considered to be an important sector of American Art.
Perhaps the art of the Highwaymen can best be described as a marriage of rich arresting color and stark simplicity of form.
If the viewer lets his or her imagination soar, the effect is almost hypnotic—these scenes appear to be embedded in time.
For many individuals it’s a trip down memory lane, evoking fond recollections of growing up in Florida. For the neophytes, these paintings offer a look into a culture with storybook appeal.
For the urbanites, the “trendy” aspect is proving irresistible, and for still others, they provide a visual foray into the lush Florida landscape.
Whatever the individual fascination, the born-again popularity of the Highwaymen has collectors strongly intrigued…and vying with each other to supplement their collections.
Art Link International is proud to offer the largest selection available of these special paintings.
Author, and former columnist
at the Palm Beach Daily News
These artists have received national recognition, and are featured in several books, documentaries, magazine articles (including People), even articles in the New York Times. All the artists have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Highwaymen paintings have hung in some of the country’s most notable homes, including the White House!
Nunzio Vayana Nunzio Vayana, (1878-1960) painter, etcher, sculptor, teacher, photographer and lecturer was born in Castelvetrano, Italy August 28, 1878 and died in December, 1960. He studied with Grosso, Morelli and Pisani and was Founder and Director of the Palm Beach Art Center, Florida; Founder and Director of the Ogunquit Art Center,...
Gifford Beal New York, NY
Gifford Beal, painter, etcher, muralist, and teacher, was born in New York City in 1879. The son of landscape painter William Reynolds Beal, Gifford Beal began studying at William Merritt Chase's Shinnecock School of Art (the first established school of plein air painting in America) at the age of thirteen,...
Walter Channing Addison W. C. Addison was one of a group of Florida artists, including A. Baranowski of Miami, and Madam Zikmund of St. Petersburg, who may be thought of as Tourist Artists, in that they were, like the Highwaymen, able to paint quickly, and in quantity, small souvenir paintings, sold as inexpensive...
Orville Bulman Florida, Michigan, New York
William Chadwick William Chadwick was born in England to Mary Alice Earnshaw and Day Chadwick. Having established a successful manufacturing business of woolen fabrics in England, Day Chadwick relocated his factory to Holyoke, Massachusetts, in 1882, to take advantage of the growing American market and to circumvent high import tariffs. William Chadwick...
Raymond Plockelman Florida, USA
Through the years, Ray Plockelman has forged a close and lasting bond with the unique flora and fauna of natural Florida. A fourth generation native, Ray has devoted his life to exploring, capturing and conserving its unspoiled landscapes and wildlife species. From childhood, he has explored the deepest recesses of...
Edith Jeannette Roddy Edith Jeannette Roddy was born in Meadville, Pennsylvania in 1895. She first studied fine art at the Boston Museum of Fine Art School followed by a grand tour of Europe for a number of years where she visited museums and collections of fine art. Back in the United States she...
Ben Austrian Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Ben Austrian attended school in his hometown until he started working as a traveling representative for his father's business, a job that allowed him to visit museums in New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and St. Louis. When his father died in 1897, he took over the...
Emile A. Gruppé Born in Rochester, New York, Emile Gruppe became a renowned New England landscape and marine painter. His modern style was largely inherited from French Impressionist Claude Monet. He was the son of landscape artist Charles Paul Gruppe, and had a very strong art background. In addition to being raised by...
Hildegarde Hume Hamilton Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
American, 20th Century. Born 11 September 1896, in Syracuse (New York); died 22 January 1970, in Fort Lauderdale (Florida). Painter, watercolourist. Landscapes, seascapes. Hildegarde Hamilton began her training in Plainfield, New Jersey, and made her first study trip abroad in 1909, before continuing her studies, notably at the Art Students'...
Harold Newton Florida, USA
Was an American landscape artist. He was a founding member of the Florida Highwaymen,a group of African American artists. Newton and the other Highwaymen were influenced by the work of Florida landscape artist A.E. Backus. Newton depicted Florida’s coastlines and wetlands. Newton was successful in a time of racial segregation...
Alfred Hair Florida, USA
Alfred Warner Hair was born in Fort Pierce, Florida in 1941. His parents were Annie Mae and Sammy Hair Sr. Alfred Hair married Doretha in 1966. He had six children. Alfred Hair attended Lincoln Park High and Lincoln Park Community College. Hair had natural artistic talent which manifested itself in...
A.E. Backus Florida, USA
Beanie was mostly self-taught, although he did enjoy two summer stints at the Parsons School of Design in New York City in 1922-23. At Parsons he learned the academic principles of symmetry and design that he had previously explored instinctually. Backus always earned his living through his artistic talent, first...
Emmett Fritz Florida, USA
Emmett Fritz was born John Emmett Fritz October 13, 1917 in Kansas City and died in Florida on November 29, 1995. He studied at Pratt Institute in 1937, and studied briefly with Norman Rockwell. He painted landscapes in New England through the late 1930's and 1940's, and also worked as...