Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Catalog Data

Created by:
Harold Newton, American, 1934 - 1994  Search this
oil paint on fiberboard
H x W x D (framed): 27 3/4 × 35 3/4 × 2 in. (70.5 × 90.8 × 5.1 cm)
oil paintings
Place made:
Fort Pierce, Saint Lucie County, Florida, United States, North and Central America
Harold Newton was a member of the Florida Highwaymen, a group of self-taught artists who worked in Florida starting in the 1950s. The Highwaymen leveraged their entrepreneurial spirit to create an independent artistic tradition during the era of segregation. The group was made up of twenty-five men and one woman. Their art provided an alternative livelihood to the regional agricultural and factory work. Though he had no formal training, Newton was informally mentored by the successful artist A.E. “Bean” Backus from Fort Pierce, Fl. Harold’s brothers, Sam and Lemuel, were also painters.
The group created a great quantity of work, often dozens of paintings per day, which would be sold inexpensively. The paintings depict Florida landscapes and are renowned for their vibrant colors and serene scenes. Like other Highwaymen, Newton sold his paintings door to door and out of his car along roadways. This practice led Jim Finch, a Sebring Florida gallery owner, to name the group the “Highwaymen” in a 1995 essay, prompting a renewed public interest. In 2004, they were inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame.
Fort Pierce and the Florida Humanities Council. “The Highwaymen Trail.” 2012.
Oil painting of a dock at a bay. The painting (a) has a grove of trees in the center, including palm trees, depicted in green and brown. There is a small brown dock to the left of the grove. In the foreground are low green grasses. The white-yellow sun is reflected in the center of the water. The sun is mostly out of frame. The green-blue sky has grey clouds. The work was signed at the bottom right. There is a maker’s mark on the reverse.
The wooden frame (b) is made from repurposed construction materials. The frame is painted with white and gold-colored paints. The white is evenly applied close to the painting. The board is secured to the frame with small nails. A metal wire anchored with a screw eye on each side is strung across the upper back.
African American  Search this
American South  Search this
Art  Search this
Nature  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Robert and Flory Kahn in memory of Wolf and Tybe Kahn
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
© Harold Newton
Permission required for use. Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Visual Arts
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture