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 Robert Butler  (1943 - 2014)

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Lived/Active: Florida      Known for: coastal view painting

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Robert Butler
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Robert Butler was born in the small timber and farming community of Baxley, Georgia in 1943. The first four years of his life were spent with his parents in a log cabin that he fondly remembers as an environment that perfectly reflects his African/Cherokee heritage.

In 1947 events transpired that brought Robert to the community of Okeechobee, Florida. A move that must have been providential because it was here on the shores of Lake Okeechobee in the heart of Florida's backcountry, that he developed a familiarity with the woods and waters that are so honestly rendered in his paintings. It is correct to say that Robert Butler was tutored by nature itself.

His professional career began in 1968. Robert honed his skills by pushing the limits of his artistic talents, and accumulated a vast amount of knowledge by creating more than one hundred paintings a year. With no formal training to facilitate an inherent artistic spirit Robert developed a style now known world wide as the “Butler style”, and exemplified by a dramatically lit and romanticized portrayal of the landscape.

Robert Butler was named Knight of the Imperial Order of the Star of Honor of the Ethiopian Empire by order of His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Haile Selassie.

“For many years. . . I have lived close to nature and witnessed the beauty my privileged eye has been allowed to see. As an artist, it is important to me to share my experiences, and whenever I work, it is the larger view that I strive to maintain. I invite you to look at your experience in the same way. The textured tapestry we call reality is constantly changing. An artist is one of the few who will be privileged to add his or her special splash of color.”
Robert Butler 1999

Information provided by Lee A. Drake of Highwaymen Artists

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is the AskART Glossary definition of Highwaymen, which included Al Black.

A group of young African-American landscape and skyscape painters, these artists painted their way out of the despair awaiting them as workers in Florida citrus groves and packing houses of the 1950s. Original members were James Gibson, Alfred Hair, Harold Newton and Livingston Roberts.  The only female member was Mary Ann Carroll. Their major influence was Albert Backus (1906-1991), a white man often referred to as the Dean of Florida painters who had a fanciful formula involving huge cumulus clouds billowing over the ocean. The Highwaymen created hybrid versions of his style, and their work is sometimes characterized as motel art. Typically they painted on inexpensive materials such as Upson board, a roofer's material, and they sold their work out of the trunks of their cars. With paintings still wet, they loaded their vehicles and traveled the state's east coast, selling them door-to-door and store-to-store, in restaurants, offices, courthouses, and bank lobbies. In succeeding decades, however, Highwaymen paintings were consigned to attics and garage sales. Their work has been rediscovered in the mid 1990's, and today is recognized as the work of American folk artists.

Neal Auction Company
Art Link International
AskART Glossary,

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