Who were the Highwaymen? 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. 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.
Thanks to AskArt.
This particular Highwayman, Charles "Chico" Wheeler is a very private person who likes to keep the details of his life to himself.
We know that Charles began his painting career by making frames for Alfred Hair. He started painting sometime in the mid to late 1960s. Like most of the other Highwaymen, he took to the roadways to sell his work. He supplemented his income from painting by working in the Fort Pierce and Vero citrus groves. In the early days, he would paint with Livingston after a full day of work.
Inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2004 as one of the Original Florida Highwaymen.
This particular painting shows the scope of Mr. Wheeler's talent. He has extended his art beyond his signature Florida coastal and marsh scenes. This is a wonderful interior scene with tomatoes and potatoes in the foreground. Windows look over a bucolic scene,
perhaps from his childhood.
ARTIST: Charles "Chico" Wheeler (American b. 1946)
Medium: Oil on Masonite.
Size: 36 by 24 inches; framed 40 by 28 inches.
Signed: Lower Right.
Condition: Very Good.
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Charles "Chico" Wheeler (American b. 1948) Florida Highwaymen Original Signed Oil "HOME" - One Of The Original Florida Highwaymen