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.