Attributed to
Hair, Alfred, American, 1941 - 1970
Date
ca. 1969
Medium
oil paint on fiberboard
Dimensions
H x W x D (framed): 26 3/4 × 38 3/4 × 2 in. (67.9 × 98.4 × 5.1 cm)
Caption
Alfred Hair 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. Alfred Hair was mentored by the Fort Pierce, Fl. artist A.E. “Bean” Backus and was the only formally trained Highwaymen painter. Hair’s work encouraged other artists to take up painting.
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, Hair 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/.
Description
Oil painting of Florida glades and seagulls. The painting (a) has a river or small lake with green grasses on each bank. The far bank has three groves of trees. The grove on the left has two (2) tall palm trees. Three (3) seagulls are flying around the central grove. The trees on the right side of the paining are the largest. This grove has a small figure of a person on the edge. There is a leafless tree in the distance with three (3) white birds resting on the barren branches. There are thin clouds over the blue sky, partially obscuring the hazy sun. The work is signed faintly on the bottom right.
The wooden frame (b) is made from repurposed construction materials. The front of the frame is covered by pinkish-white paint. 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 small chips out of the frame. The frame is nailed together at the corners.
Place made
Fort Pierce, Saint Lucie County, Florida, United States, North and Central America
Classification
Visual Arts
Type
oil paintings
Topic
American South
Art
Nature
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
2014.185.17ab
Restrictions & Rights
Unknown - Restrictions Possible
GUID
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/fd5e0b4835f-5438-4a14-882a-16d92116c882
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