Created by
Newton, Harold, American, 1934 - 1994
ca. 1978
oil paint on fiberboard
H x W x D (framed): 26 7/8 × 39 1/2 × 2 in. (68.3 × 100.3 × 5.1 cm)
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 river scene. The river runs through the center of the painting (a) with trees and grasses along the shoreline. The still river has reflections of the trees and pink sky. There is an off center palm tree shown above the tree tops. Below this tree are two (2) white birds, one in flight and the other standing in the river. The branches on the right side extend over the water. The sky in the center is tinged pink in the early morning light. The work is signed in the bottom right. The reverse of the board has small rectangles of adhesive along the top and bottom edges.
The wooden frame (b) is made from repurposed construction materials. The frame is lightly 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. The corners of the frame are nailed together.
Place made
Fort Pierce, Saint Lucie County, Florida, United States, North and Central America
Visual Arts
oil paintings
American South
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.

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