Created by
Newton, Harold, American, 1934 - 1994
ca. 1970
oil paint on fiberboard
H x W x D (framed): 27 7/8 × 51 1/2 × 2 in. (70.8 × 130.8 × 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 breaking surf. The right side of the painting (a) has rocks in the foreground with crashing waves and ocean spray. The waves are shown in shades of green with some white-caps. There is a band of grey clouds on the horizon. Sunlight is reflected on the water and lightens the sky from just out of the frame. The work is signed at the bottom right.
The wooden frame (b) is made from repurposed construction materials. The front of the frame is painted white with gold-colored paint lightly applied on top. 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. There are paint marks on the back of the board and frame.
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
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