H x W x D (framed): 25 5/8 × 37 3/4 × 1 3/4 in. (65.1 × 95.9 × 4.4 cm)
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. https://thehighwaymentrail.com/bibliography/.
Oil painting of a sandy beach in windy weather. The foreground of the painting (a) has blue-grey sand and central dunes. Green grasses cover the top of the dunes. There are two (2) palm trees in the center blowing in the wind. The blue and white sea has crashing waves. There are three (3) white seagulls shown flying above the water. Grey storm clouds cover the top of the paintings and obscure the sun. There is sunlight coming from behind the clouds and reflecting on the water. The work is signed in the bottom right.
The wooden frame (b) is made from repurposed construction materials and is fragile. The frame is lightly painted with white and gold-colored paints. The board is only attached on two sides to the frame with small nails. A metal wire anchored with a screw eye on each side is strung across the upper back. Each corner has a string nailed to the frame across the board.