LOCAL CONSIGNORS CONJURE UP UNIQUE RECIPE FOR JACK EUBANKS AUCTION SALE OF JUNE 23 Mix one Porsche Carrera 2, six Florida Highwayman paintings and a helping of early Transylvania County, NC furniture. Stir well. Result? The opportunity for a great sale at Jack Eubanks Auction in Bre
News-Antique.com - Jun 06,2007 - The folk art phenomenon now known as the Highwaymen had its beginning in the 1950s in Ft. Pierce Florida when a local white landscape artist, Alfred E. “Beanie” Backus, took in a young black aspiring artist named Alfred Hair. Backus showed Hair the basics of painting semi-tropical landscapes and even took him to the Bahamas to broaden his horizon. Hair, ever the entrepreneurial spirit, then organized a small group of local black artists and showed them how to “mass produce” colorful Florida landscapes. Lacking a retail outlet for their work, these young painters began to sell their wares on Florida roadways, earning them the name “Highwaymen.” Eventually the group members set out on their separate ways and some of them are still active artists today even though Alfred died in 1970.
The Jack Eubanks sale of June 23 will feature 24 by 48in original oil on board Florida landscape by Hair depicting a Florida poinciana tree in all its red glory against a typical Florida backdrop. The painting, from the 1960s, is signed “A. Hair.” The same local consignor also presents five more Highwaymen by another original member Sam Newton. These were acquired by a deceased member of the consignor’s family, Robert Hurd, in the 1970s when he lived in Melbourne, FL and acquired the paintings directly from Newton for $20.00 each.
The abundance of American art in this sale is augmented by the presence of a work by Charles P. Gruppe (American 1860-1940). This oil on panel entitled “Norman’s Woe” features a seascape from the Gloucester, Mass area. The 12 by 16in work without frame is artist signed and probably is from the 1920s. The same consignor had another Gruppe work, a harbor scene, in the June 10 sale at Eubanks and it was very well received. Also on the block are thirty Wallace Nutting prints, some hand colored and all with original signatures. They were purchased by a local consignor in New York over thirty years ago and range in size from 2 by 3in to 15½ by 18¼in. Some of the prints are numbered and dated.
The final entries in the art category represent the result of along investigation by auction owner Jack Eubanks who tracked down a painting signed by Rhonda J. Smith, entitled “Kentucky Games March 1979.” When Eubanks tracked down the artist she turned out to be a tenured art professor at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, Ky. Formerly the head of the Art Department, the artist relayed that the work was a post graduate pastel piece created while in Richmond, KY. When asked about another work, a drawing entitled “Time In A Bottle” signed by Skip Wiggs, she said that was the nickname of her husband Byron Alan Wiggs who now owns a pottery in Harpers Ferry WV.
The young at heart will be interested in the bright red Porsche Carrera 2 to try on the twisty roads of western North Carolina. The Carrera version of the Porsche 911 was introduced in 1988 for