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.
—Edna Weissman
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!


Alfonso Moran

Carnell Smith

James Gibson

Livingston Roberts

R.A. McLendon

Hezekiah Baker

Nunzio Vayana

Gifford Beal

Walter Channing Addison

Orville Bulman

William Chadwick

Raymond Plockelman

Edith Jeannette Roddy

Ben Austrian

Emile A. Gruppé

Hildegarde Hume Hamilton

Harold Newton

Alfred Hair

A.E. (Beanie) Backus

Emmett Fritz