Tuesday, May 31, 2011

West Palm Beach Antique Show June 2

Robert Lewis always visits my booth and shows appreciation for the things I've picked for inventory.

He knows a Harold Newton painting from a distance.

I only realized just now what my old grandmother used to say, "Bobby, it's impolite to point".

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Media Relations Contact
Sandra Wills Hannon
240-888-9736 cell
301-839-2744 office

From Sharecropper’s Daughter to the White House:
Florida Highwaymen Artist to Gift Painting to First Lady

Washington, DC---May 18, 2011--- Mary Ann Carroll, the only woman in the famed group of African American artists known as the Florida Highwaymen, will proudly present one of her paintings to Michelle Obama at the First Lady’s Annual Luncheon at the Congressional Club in Washington on Wednesday, May 18. Born in Georgia in 1940 to sharecroppers, Ms. Carroll, who at 70, continues to paint, will meet the First Lady. It is a long way from the days when the mother of seven made a living loading her paintings in her 1964 Buick Electra and travelling throughout the state of Florida to sell her paintings.
The First Lady’s Luncheon is the most prestigious affair of the year by the Congressional Club. In 1912, the Club held a Breakfast, in honor of the wife of the President of the United States. The Breakfast has now become the First Lady's Luncheon and has been held almost every year since its inception.
In addition, Ms. Carroll will be a guest lecturer at Howard University this summer, when the university will host an exhibit of paintings by the Highwaymen.
The history of Florida’s Highwaymen is a story that now is told through a few of the surviving artists who pioneered an incredible and largely unknown National art movement.
The Highwaymen, a group of 26 African-Americans, broke convention to paint beautiful iconic landscapes. Originating in the mid-50s – an era marked by racism, poverty and brutality – the self-taught entrepreneurs mentored each other while they scavenged for basic materials like wallboard for canvasses, and crown molding for frames. Galleries shunned their work, so they peddled their art from car trunks along area roadways, hence their name. Their art freed them from work in citrus groves and created a body of work that has become not only a timeless collection of a natural environment, but a symbol of determination and belief in oneself.
From Sharecropper’s daughter to the White House, 1 of 2

From Sharecropper’s daughter to the White House, 2 of 2
In selling art on the road, Ms. Carroll braved the challenges that came with a Black woman travelling through a segregated south. “I went to Okeechobee,” she recalled of one instance. The guys didn’t go because there was a lot of what you call “redneck” thinking and this kind of stuff. But I was going where I was going and that was it. I traveled up and down the state of Florida by myself. I went over across ditches and canals. And I’m afraid of water.”
“It was segregation. Blacks had one water fountain, whites had another. At restaurants you had to go in the back door. Blacks were disrespected,” she said.
Though she supplemented her income as an artist with a variety of jobs including carpentry and music, the art was her main source of income. “I could not work as a maid and make enough for my family. This was the best life that any of us could live, painting and enjoying the labor. We were able to keep shelter over our heads and feed children and do some of the good things in life.”
The surviving Highwaymen, now in their 70s, are an important chapter in America’s culture and history. Their self-determination in the face of adversity remains a story of perseverance, inspiration and creativity.
Bob Beatty, in his book Florida’s Highwaymen: Legendary Landscapes, writes: “As African Americans in the Jim Crow South, [theirs] is a story of triumph in the face of opposition … [a story] of a loose collective of largely self-taught, self-supporting and self-motivated African American artists rising from obscurity to national renown [and creating] a piece of history…”
Today, Ms. Carroll is pastor of the Foundation Revival Center in Fort Pierce, Fla. She is also an accomplished musician. She still paints and exhibits her work widely.


Highwaymen Art Movement, Washington DC

May 18, 2011

Something very special for our market is going to happen today, God willing.

It will happen in our nation's capitol.

Mary Ann Carroll helps move the highwaymen art market forward.

Are you familiar with this old expression, "It's not WHAT you know, but WHO you know" ?

Stay tuned.

This is big.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Mary Ann Carroll, highwaywoman, the only female member of the group, is certainly one of the more popular artists.

I was privileged to meet her way back in the early days of the highwaymen art market, soon after Jim Fitch wrote his article naming the group in 1995 and giving birth to the phenomenon.

Back in those days, until I actually met her, we used to think she was Mary Alice Carroll, her paintings signed with the initials M A Carroll.

She was invited (and introduced to me) by Dave and Sue Folds, two people who had seized upon the idea of a highly collectible market. Dave's dad, followed by Dave, began acquiring paintings in thrift shops, carrying an actual inventory of these things in their loft in a modest condo. They were extremely important in helping to create a buying and selling atmosphere at the West Palm Beach state fairgrounds antique show, which at the time was promoted by Jeff Francis and universally known as "The Piccadilly Show". Some old timers still call it by that name.

These were the days when it was difficult to convince a potential customer that a standard size painting, signed A, Hair could be worth as much as the $ 35.00 to $ 50.00 I was asking for it and probably was going to increase in value over the long term.

Recently I was fortunate enough to purchase a little gem of a poinciana painting by Mary Ann at a show I attend in Vero Beach. Some of the most beautiful paintings, certainly with the most vibrant of colors, that I have bought and sold, have been done by Mary Ann.

This poinciana portrait is an 8 x 10 on upson board, a vintage piece. It was in a nasty old frame so I contacted Sam Newton and he made a beautiful new original highwayman frame for me which, of course, is where that little gem resides.

I have posted a picture of it for your viewing pleasure.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, here is

Mary Ann Carroll, herownself:


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fakes and more fakes

Here's another one for ya, peeps.

Be careful out there.

UPDATE: May 4.

Someone bought it for a grand. A $20.00 yard-sale painting for a grand.

I wonder how they'll feel when they find out the truth, don't you ?

Item number: 250814037048
Item location: saugerties, NY, United States

That said, there are smiles and maybe even high-fives in Saugerties this morning.

And yet another update. May 16, 2011.
It is now re-listed. Guess the $1000.00 buyer didn't like it, eh ?
Or refused to pay ?
Wonder if P. T. Barnum is smiling.

Item number: 260785067867