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The Highwaymen: Florida's African-American Landscape Painters Hardcover – November 20, 2001


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The Highwaymen: Florida's African-American Landscape Painters + The Journey of the Highwaymen + Harold Newton: The Original Highwayman
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida; 1st edition (November 20, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813022819
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813022819
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 10.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #253,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Monroe's book is a valuable document of Florida's rich cultural past, showing how black artists contributed to the dreamy visions of Florida."

About the Author

Gary Monroe, professor of visual art at Daytona Beach Community College, is a documentary photographer with a long-time interest in "outsider" and vernacular art. His work has been recognized with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fulbright Foundation, and he has been a lecturer for the Florida Humanities Council. His photographs have been published in Cassadaga: The South's Oldest Spiritualist Community (UPF, 2000), which he coedited; Life in South Beach (1989); and Florida Dreams (1993).

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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A followup: This book launched an explosion of interest in The Highwaymen.
AfroAmericanHeritage
Well written and beautifully photographed story of the Florida Highwaymen and their artistic journey across Central Florida during difficult cultural times in the USA.
chokbarnes
The story is well presented with wonderful details that make their artistic journey come alive.
Diane G. Ward

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By AfroAmericanHeritage on October 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In 1994, art aficionado Jim Fitch assigned the name "Highwaymen" to a loose association of young, mostly untrained black artists (including one woman) from the Fort Pierce area who created thousands of Florida landscapes and marketed them from the backs of their cars for about $25 in the 1960's and `70's. Theirs was an unabashedly commercial venture, and the artists collaborated to create and sell works as quickly and cheaply as possible. Dismissed as "motel art" at the time, these intense, lush and at times otherworldly depictions of an idealized Florida have become a subject of renewed interest and critical attention in recent years. Consequently, many myths and vague tales have grown up around the group.

As part of his research, author Gary Monroe interviewed many of the remaining artists to bring the story to life, presented here in a 26-page annotated essay. In analyzing the art, he insists that the speed with which they worked was far from a detriment: "By unintentionally bastardizing the canonical pictorial strategies...they created a new form of fantasy landscape painting." The artists found their strength as colorists, and the emotional hues capture the essence of Florida (or at least, as we imagine it.)

As a northerner who visited Florida twice as a child in the pre-Disney days, I must confess that the 63 glorious full-color reproductions here gave me goose bumps of fond memory, real or imagined.

A followup: This book launched an explosion of interest in The Highwaymen. Surviving members no longer need hawk their wares, since collectors now come to them and new works sell for as much as $18,000. The were inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2004.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Emily Griswell on June 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
An all-inclusive journey through the lives and souls of African American painters from days gone by. These creative souls painted breathtaking beach landscapes... Many of their works still survive today, and sell for [a small fortune]. (I know, I have one in my living room.) A great buy! Just be warned; one look through it's pages will draw you toward Florida's shores lke a child to the smell of cotton candy!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Diane G. Ward on September 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book highlites a special group of amateur black artists who lived in Florida in the 1950's. The story is well presented with wonderful details that make their artistic journey come alive. The paintings are wonderful. The only drawback to this book, as I see it, is that the vivid hues of the paintings did not come through in this book. I happened to read a magazine article, full of rich colorful pictures of some of the paintings, which sparked my interest, and led to my purchasing this book. Unfortunately, it seems that this printing process could not represent the original brilliance of the paintings. This is a fascinating peek at a little know bit of Florida art history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book tells quite a story that every artist, beginner or professional, should read. To avoid working in the citrus groves of 1950s Florida, a group of Black artists turn to painting stylistic, imaginative landscapes of the terrain surrounding them. From their trucks and cars, they sold their paintings to anyone who would buy them on the highways, door to door, stores, restaurants and wherever they could reach people. Lucky are those who bought and held on to these paintings. Today, those original 26 highwaymen would be rich but in reality, they barely scraped out a living. Most people dismissed their work as "Motel Art", but now, whoever has one of the original 100,000 would see a handsome profit and would possess a piece of Americana.

The book will make you want to search attics for these colorful paintings.
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By Amazon Customer on August 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the real thing. This is the original Highwayman art book that first documented the journey of the highwaymen, who they were and how they got here. It is referenced by countless sources as the official list of the original 26 highwaymen. The first half of the book is mostly text with a few example prints interspersed and the second half is all plates of representative Highwaymen art. There now are several highwaymen art books, including 2 more by this author but this book serves as the bible for Highwaymen artist history.
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By Curtis W. Roberts on July 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the first if not the very first comprehensive study of Florida's black regional landscape artist known since 1994 as "The Highwaymen". This book gives a good overview and a wonderful historical look at these "outsider artist", the times they lived in and painted in along Florida's treasure coast. A recommended buy for any lover of Old Florida!
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By John F. Reuter on July 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mostly photos rather than narrative substance which I was hoping for.
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By Pamela Clayton on March 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am very pleased. I grew up in Central Florida but was recently aware of The Highwaymen. I purchased a book for my home and one for another family member.
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