Harold Newton. Untitled, 1960s.
Oil on Masonite board.
“In 1955, 19-year-old African American artist Harold Newton was convinced by A. E. Backus, a prominent Florida landscape artist, to create paintings of landscapes rather than religious scenes. Newton sold his landscapes from the trunk of his car because art galleries in South Florida refused to represent African Americans. The following year, 14-year-old Alfred Hair began taking formal art lessons from Backus and, after three years, also began selling landscape paintings. Newton and Hair inspired a loose-knit group of African American artists to follow their leads. Newton is recognized by fellow artists for his technical inspiration while Hair is the considered the leader and catalyst “who set the tone for the group through the 1960s.” They attracted a group of a “young, energetic” artists who painted large quantities of brilliantly colorful impressionistic landscapes that they each sold from their cars. In 1970, the group lost its charismatic leader when Hair was killed in a barroom brawl at age 29 and the prodigious output of the movement’s artists began to wane.” (Wikipedia)