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Famous Florida Highwaymen Artists To Visit Tallahassee This Saturday

Published May 12, 2011

The Original Florida Highwaymen artists will visit Manor Auctions Tallahassee gallery this Saturday, May 7th. A group of the Original Florida Highwaymen will be painting, selling works and speaking with the public during Manor Auctions Fine Art & Collectible Auction. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to plan a visit to meet this historic group of African American Florida landscape artists. Their unique style of painting has come to define Florida landscape art, distinguished by the use of rich, vibrant color applied typically to Upson board. The Highwaymen were inducted in to the Florida Artists Hall Of Fame in 2004. Their paintings can be found in private collections, galleries, museums and government buildings. The Highwaymen will be at Manor Auctions Tallahassee gallery from 10am through the early evening hours.

The Florida Highwaymen movement began in the early 1950’s when A.E. Backus, a prominent White artist in S. Florida began teaching Alfred Hair, a little known African-American art student who was eager to make a career in painting. Their unlikely partnership began what would become known as the Florida Highwaymen.

Once Hair discovered the ability to make money and earn a living through art, he encouraged some of his friends to join him. Hair was convinced that his group could be very successful. In all 25 friends joined Hair in his venture and took up paintings Florida Landscapes. In all this group of 26 individuals formed the Florida Highwaymen and are known today as the ”Original 26 Florida Highwaymen”.

Although Hair was tragically killed in 1970, at the age of 29, the Florida Highwaymen continued strong for about 20 years. They would be typically be seen throughout Southeast Florida, mainly Port St. Lucie, Ft. Pierce, St. John and the surrounding areas where you would find them creating their paintings in parks, along roadsides and on the water’s edge. When they were not painting, one would routinely see them going business to business selling their paintings to local residents and business owners. It is believed the Highwaymen created in excess of 200,000 paintings.

Many of the Highwaymen moved on to other careers in the early 1980’s as sales dropped off and interest in their art seemed to diminish.

Then in the early 1990’s, due to quite a bit of publicity the Highwaymen realized a resurgence in collector and public interest. Their story became one of intrigue – a true “American Dream” tale. A tale from which many books have been written. With this renewed interest came a sharp rise in demand and value. Today the Highwaymen paintings remain wildly popular and once again many of the Original 26, along with other family members now earn a living through painting their unique “Florida Highwaymen” landscapes.

Manor Auctions looks forward to this Saturday’s Highwaymen visit at their Tallahassee Auction Gallery. Manor’s chief auctioneer, Malcolm Mason, said ”this is a wonderful opportunity for the local community to shake hands and speak with a group of artists who have shaped and defined Florida landscape art over the past 50 years.” Anyone having questions about the Highwaymen Artist’s visit can call the gallery at 850-523-3787 or Ask A Question.

Manor Auctions is a leading Fine Art and Collectible auction gallery. Manor has offices throughout the Southeast and travels nationally in the appraisal and acquisition of Fine Art & Collectibles.

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