Thursday, September 12, 2013

Highwaymen on 9/11

I'm from Boston, not NY, although I brought the family down here to Florida 20 years ago.
We have a lot in common, people from NY and Boston.
We don't really hate each other, it's just a sort of competitive game we all play.
Yesterday I saw this video for the first time. It's nothing short of amazing.

 I've always liked this song, I know it by heart, and I've always liked Paul Simon.
The lyrics are special to me personally, because I like to think of myself as a fighter.
Judge me as you wish, too stubborn or maybe just persistent, whatever.
This little art market, Florida's highwaymen art has seen its ups and downs, has had its fair share of folks jumping on the bandwagon in good times, and bailing out when it softened and crashed along with real estate due to the economy in 2010 and 2011.
It began it's recovery in 2012 and is now gaining momentum.
Supply and demand markets, particularly collectibles markets go through cycles.
Thankfully, it's almost full speed ahead, cycling up once more.
And I'm still here.

Yes, I remain. Sure as Florida rain, I remain.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Florida highwaymen art popularity

You want proof that Florida's highwaymen art is in demand?

That the name HIGHWAYMEN draws attention?

Here's proof currently listed on eBay. It's listed on the highwaymen page and on the Florida art page.

This piece looks like it has nothing to do with Florida.

The highwaymen painted very few interior scenes, although a rare still life bowl of fruit will pop up upon occasion.

Yet, here is a copy and paste of the description.


And here's the art itself.
How 'bout them apples?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Harold Newton and Alfred Hair

Here's a copy of an email I just sent a potential customer.

It will give you some basics as I addressed his various questions.

It also displays my tendency to go on and on and.......


I always recommend H Newton and/or A Hair as a first aquisition.
They are the two that are the most in demand for several reasons.
Both were there at the very beginning, becoming involved with A E Backus, Newton in 1953 and Hair in 1954. Both were quite prolific, and of course, both are deceased.
Newton is generally acknowledged by the market (and the other hwymn artists) as the most talented.
His earliest work is very primitive and evolved to eye appealing after about five years of relentless production and practice. Two books have been written about his life and his work.
The story of the sudden and brutal murder of Hair in 1970 is what caught the attention of the public and added the loudest sizzle to the steak. The first book about the hwymn was dedicated to his memory. When all 26 were inducted into the FL Artists Hall of Fame about a decade ago, rather than individually, they went in as "Alfred Hair and the Highwaymen".
Hair's early work, when he was studying with Backus as a teenager, is generally better than his later work, and as a result, quite rare and valuable to collectors. His idea, after he had the basics down pat, was to paint a lot of them as quickly as possible and get them sold even faster by pricing them low and enlisting the help of friends and relatives in moving them out.
Small paintings are actually harder to find because their idea was to fill the walls of the new homes sprouting in FL with decorative extremely affordable landscape art. Most were "couch-sized".
The Royal Poinciana, being a spectacular tree, blooming in early summer, has always enjoyed a lot of attention, and thus, the demand for portraits of "one of them red trees" makes them worth a premium. They are very scarce in sizes less than the standard 24x36.
Fitch is enjoying the retired life in his home in Sebring. He is a delightful person and you would enjoy speaking with him. After "creating" the hwymn market itself in 1994-95, he played it for several years before losing interest and moving on to one "artsy" thing after another. He, last I spoke with him, is promoting prints and originals by Daniel Butler, one of the many talented children of his long time friend, Robert. I have three phone numbers for him if you're interested.
Most importantly, I live in New Port Richey and will be here until Thursday when I head over to West Palm for the monthly antique show. I would welcome a visit if you are prepared to actually purchase something. I write that with all due respect, as I have been fooled a couple of times by so-called collectors who simply wanted an hour of entertaining stories along with a "show and tell". Don't get me started on the woman who pushed her feeble ancient husband in here in a wheelchair and stayed an hour and a half.
I am available 24/7 and later today seems like it might be ideal. Call for an appointment and directions, and when you come, I want a copy of each of your books.
I have available inventory currently of about a dozen various highwaymen, including two Newtons, and four Hairs. Incredibly, I have the second smallest Hair I have seen (of what, a thousand?) measuring 20x12.
I'll attach images of the two small ones, you'll know which is which.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Florida Highwaymen Art Lies.

It has been written that there are lies and damn lies.

This original "unsigned" Florida Highwaymen painting is currently on eBay as of this morning.
Listed as Alfred Hair's work.

"Verified" as a Hair by Al Black, who inexplicably signed it "Al Black" where the signature usually goes, lower right. Written in script on the verso, and signed again by Al Black, "Painted by A Hair".
This bald-faced lie is beyond my comprehension.
 It likely was sold by Black, however. He probably didn't lie about that.
And to make matters even worse, Al Black has DEVALUED the painting by damaging it with his magic marker signature.

Here's a copy/paste from the seller's listing:
Large approx. 51X27 (sofa size) oil painting originally painted by A Hair, this painting however no longer has his signature. My mother assumed that when she sent him out to make changes that he wiped out his signature but upon researching, I have seen that many of Al Hair's works were painted without signatures. At a later date she went to an art show in Tallahassee that Al Black was attending and he confirmed and authenticated that it was an original "Alfred Hair" painting. He signed the back and the front and then stated "painted by A Hair" on the back of the painting. He remembered being there with Hair in Ft Lauderdale that day.

Since posting this, a few days ago, I have been in communication with the seller, whose name is Crista.
Crista has shown integrity and good judgment by adjusting her listing to read as follows:

Al Black was and he signed the painting and confirmed that it was A Hair's painting and stated this on the back. However since my listing has been posted I have had a fellow ebayer tell me that Al Black was very known for "stretching the truth" and that the painting was actually a Livingston Roberts painting. This fellow ebayer also states that he was very familiar with the Highwaymen, and the artists different painting styles. Therefore I would say that the artist is unknown.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Vintage Sam Newton highwaymen art

Looks like I'm writing about Sam Newton again.

He's been my "hot artist" lately.

I bought this classic highwaymen beauty, a masterpiece, actually, from Herb Smith last week and sold it at the St Pete Floridiana show in the Palladium Sunday.


Here's a copy of the email I sent him the next morning.:

Good morning, Herb.

Well, your Sam didn't last very long on my dining room wall!

So these 40ish two ladies are fluttering around my 5 new 8x10's I bought from Sam. I'm thinking one will help the other pick out the "best" one and it'll be a good start to the show.

They surprised me and said, "What can you do on these three, plus the upson 24x18" I had, typical plain sunrise river scene. So I went thru the whole dog and pony show, writing the orig prices on a big sheet of paper and crossing them off, putting discounted prices down, and so on.

They said, "OK. By the way, we're decorating our new offices in the Suntrust building downtown St Pete." Couple of people from an insurance agency with their offices in a brand new glass building. Bare walls. So I went to work on them.

"I have these gorgeous other vintage pieces, Harold jumbo, Hair 2x4, Moran 2x4", all seascapes, (all so big I hate them now). "No, we don't like seascapes". But they gravitated to your Sam pine tree.

"This is the best one I've had in 10 years, blah, blah, blah and I wouldn't sell it for a penny less than $2000.00" They love it now, but the higher price made them gun shy. God bless them, they called the office designer on their cell and she came to the show.

So now it's a "committee". The designer is in her mid-late 20's, well dressed, drop dead gorgeous, and she absolutely loved your Sam. She had to get approval from the COO, to spend that kind of money on a single piece. I came down to 1800 (out of respect for the 4 already bought, plus she had a great ass). So out comes her phone and she calls him. Can't be reached. "Let me put it over here (down a hall across from a bench), we don't want anyone else to buy it"

Sentries guarding a new found treasure while waiting for a return call from "the General".

Very busy show. After about an hour, I go see them, "So......?" "We called the COO and the CEO and got voice mail".

"Well, those guys are busy guys. They don't have time for stuff like this. That's why you guys are here".

After I go back to other sales and appraisals and such, I see it's been about another half hour, and the sentries come marching in. They never got a call back, but they said, "OK, we'll take it".

Now I just hope the COO or the CEO says, "Hey, I really like seascapes, call this guy".

I'm not bragging, Herb, I knew you'd enjoy this story. Those were the only hwymn I sold (+ another new Sam), 6 Sams, but I sold a few grand in cheaper FL stuff.

Sounds like fun, but I paid the price. Up at 4, drive to St P 5-6, load in 6-8, set up 8-10, on my feet talking 10-5, pack and load out 5-6:30, drive home an hour. Shower, double Dewars, enchiladas and CRASH.

Thanks for finding that Sam.


cell 727 809 1691

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Vintage Sam Newton

I may be a "cock-eyed optimist", but my gut tells me the economy is improving. Or maybe it's "the season" when all the snow birds are here with their money. The "season" didn't make ANY DIFFERENCE in 2010 and 2011, two excruciating years for a small business, especially in Florida.

January 2013 was a tremendous month highwaymen art commerce, and here I am, 3 days into February, the first show hasn't even started yet (Friday Feb. 8 in West Palm) and it's already blown away January results. Go ahead and ask me if I'm relishing the moment.

And then you can ask me if I relished the eight or ten shows I did in the last few years, all of them with  weekend expenses equal to $1000.00, where I had sales volumes of less than $400.00 and included more than a fair share of complete shutouts with zero sales results.

So, I still have a couple of years of catching up to do.

I was going through some old files and noticed this beautiful sunset by Sam Newton, classic 24x36 on upson board with the original 1960's crown molding frame.

The promoter of the first Florida Memorabilia show, which was probably in 2005 as that's the date on this image from my files,  had asked me to meet her at the Tampa Tribune and bring along a half dozen highwaymen paintings for a TV-newspaper photo shoot, and this is one that I brought.

Annette Ross is unquestionably the most effective owner-promoter of any of these types of shows that I've been doing for 18 years now, and she kicked off this continuing annual series , now called the Floridiana-Highwaymen Show, usually in St. Pete, but always at least close to her home base, Hula Hula Productions, in a big way with a big media blitz.

This particular one, her first specialized one of this nature, was crowded into the "Old Sunken Gardens" in St. Pete. The Sunken Gardens itself is crowded into the concrete and asphalt of the area.

The newspaper ran a special section for "What to do this weekend" and the front page of that section featured a large photo in full color to headline and highlight the "featured attraction". I had no idea ahead of time, but when I picked up a copy of the paper on Friday, (the show was on Sunday) I was both amazed and thrilled that the editors had chosen a piece of my inventory as the "hook" to catch people's attention.

This beauty was one of the first pieces of many to sell at the show, we stayed very busy that day. A woman had seen it in the newspaper and fell in love with it immediately. Upon attending the show and seeing it in person, she had to own it.

They ALWAYS look better in person than any Internet image or photograph of any kind.
And that's a fact, Jack.....

So, of course, we negotiated the price respectfully for a little bit, and she brought it home with her.

Unfortunately I had only bought one copy of the newspaper, which I had brought along to the show for obvious reasons, and she insisted on having it, so of course I gave it to her.

Lord knows, I've bought and sold at least 50 Sam Newton sunsets of varying sizes and ages, including new ones, in this market, but this particular piece is certainly my most memorable one.

This year the show is in the Palladium in St Pete on Sunday February 24.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Highwaymen art (sort of)

Rather than talk about the art, I'm in a mood to get personal write about people.
As 2013 dawns and Christmas was last week, I am still overwhelmed (and a little embarrassed) by the generosity of my family and friends. I hereby officially state for the record how blessed and extremely thankful I am.
Take my wife........PLEASE.
No, no, no, she knows I'm kidding. She's a keeper. That explains our forty years together as a team. When I introduce her to someone new, I'll usually say, "This is my first wife, Carol."
Well, it's true.
Then I'll tell them that we've been "happily married for about 10 years." Yes, that sometimes causes confusion considering our similar ages, especially if she happens to smile, which I believe may be directly proportional to glasses of wine consumed.
She's a Middle School teacher, language arts, one of those teachers with an enormous heart and a sense of dedication and a work ethic that's awe inspiring to witness. Many people put teachers in one big general category of overpaid workers with a short day's work and many vacations, including a couple of summer months. Unfortunately there is no shortage of teachers who coast through their days, disdainful of their responsibilities while watching the clock. Carol loves her students, but takes no prisoners and demands their respect. She'll deal out discipline as well as affection. I'll spare you the discussion about nonsensical students' and parents' "rights" in the new millenium.
Julia Childs and Emeril Lagasse would writhe on the floor in ecstasy after one of her holiday Turkey dinners such as we enjoyed on Christmas. Carol's talent shines in the kitchen as well as her professional life. My main contribution to these dinners is to make piles of stuffing, mashed potatos and gravy disappear. After dinner, I make sure I'm highly visible to everyone clearing a few plates and rinsing a few dishes and then stealthily disappear and go take a nap.
I am also thankful for my three kids and Carol's older sister Ellie, who flies down here to paradise from the frozen north every couple of years to tirelessly bake pies, cookies and fudge.
Mmmmmmmm, FUDGE.
Happy New Year everyone, and I hope you don't mind this slight intrusion.
2012 was a better year for business than 2011 and 2010.
Since collectibles market go in cycles, we can all hope together that the trend continues.