H x W x D (framed): 27 1/2 × 15 1/2 × 2 in. (69.9 × 39.4 × 5.1 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 stream at night with cranes. The painting (a) shows a river with thick vegetation on either side. There are green trees, reeds and grasses, and a central palm tree. There are two (2) white cranes with blue-grey wings standing in the river in the bottom left. There is white morning light visible at the top of the painting, partially hidden by the tree tops. The painting is signed in the bottom right.
The wooden frame (b) is made from repurposed construction materials. The frame is painted white on both sides. Along the top edge, gold-colored paint has been added on top of the base layer in a textured pattern. A metal wire anchored with a screw eye on each side is strung across the upper back. The painting is secured under protruding nails.