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 Alfred Hair  (1941 - 1971)

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Lived/Active: Florida      Known for: landscape painting

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Alfred Hair
An example of work by Alfred Hair
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is the AskART Glossary definition of Highwaymen, which included Alfred Hair.

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.

Sources:
AskART Glossary, http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx?sl=H

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from A.E. Backus:

Alfred Hair (1941-1970) along with Harold Newton, is considered to be the original "Highwaymen" painter. The Highwaymen were a group of young African-American painters in the Fort Pierce, Florida area who painted Florida landscape paintings in almost a spontaneous fashion!

The term "Highwaymen" refers to the theme in which they sold their paintings, literally door to door. As disenfranchised artists and because segregation was a part of life in the South in the early to mid 1950's, blacks were not allowed to exhibit in galleries in this locale.

The "Highwaymen" phenomenon has grown to exceed almost 20 artists and is the subject of a book by Gary Monroe, The Highwaymen published in 2001.

Alas, Hair's life was cut short as he was tragically murdered in 1970. The two original members were tutored and mentored (Hair and Newton) by Albert "Bean"Backus (1906-1990, considered to be Florida's outstanding landscape artist!


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