About Old Florida Paintings
Through the Eye of the Beholder
A History of Florida Art
From 1564 to the Present
The state of Florida has been the inspiration for not only art but many artists. It has served as the centerpiece for significant work by both natives of the Sunshine State as well as artists who came to it from far-off places. Aside from the traditions of the Seminoles, Florida’s aboriginal people, the first known artist was Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, who arrived at St. Augustine in 1564.
During his time in Florida, Le Moyne created forty-two pieces of work valued for their artistry and as a unique and vital historical record of that time. Others followed, like John Ogilby in the 1600s. Most of this early work was in the form of illustration, engravings, and etchings.
In the 1800s, some artists turned to portraiture. The aboriginal people became the subject of artists like Charles Bird King, J.T. Brown, and George Catlin. The 1800’s also included some fabulous oil-on-canvas landscapes such as those by John Bunyan Bristol, John Rogers Vinton, and George Harvey.
In the late 1800s, after the close of the Civil War, artists like Thomas Moran, Clara Mitchell Carter, George Frank Higgins, William Morris Hunt, Martin Johnson Heade, Laura Woodward, Frank Harvey Shapleigh, William Staples Drown, William Aiken Walker, George de Forest Brush, George Herbert McCord, and others produced beautiful landscapes.
In the first part of the 20th century, artists came to Florida, such as John Singer Sargent, Anthony Thieme, Louis Charles Vogt, Ernest Lawson, Emile Gruppe, and Laura Woodward. But out of all Florida’s visiting artists, we should not forget about John James Audubon.
The most notable painters of Florida are George Inness, Hermann Herzog, Winslow Homer, Frank Hamilton Taylor, and William Picknell.
Many patrons of the arts came to vacation in Florida, and the artists would sometimes follow. The businessman also visited Florida, such as Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Plant, Addison Mizner, George Merrick, and John Ringling, who contributed to the development of the land but also the development of the art and culture as well.
Despite all these visitors, Florida did have some native artists. The most notable one of them all was Albert Ernest “Bean” Backus. Backus painted some of Florida’s most beautiful landscapes [Click here to visit the Bean Backus site].
Backus also became the catalyst and inspiration for a group of young men from Ft. Pierce during the 1950s, culminating in what essentially became Florida’s first art movement. These landscape painters, now collectively called The Highwaymen, produced landscapes in virtually 30 minutes using any inexpensive materials at hand but depicted Florida with a craft and vividness unlike anything before. The work was painted fast and was sold fast and cheap, right out of the trunks of cars by the artists themselves. Harold Newton, Alfred Hair, and Roy McLendon are some of the more prominent names from this large group of local artists [Click here to visit The Highwaymen site].
Visiting artists and annual tourists took many of the Florida-inspired paintings out of the state. These paintings are in many northern homes, businesses, and institutions like the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. Though Florida keeps changing, its original and charming beauty continues in these many fine artists’ painted works.
Some of the Artists Who Painted Florida
Albert Ernest Beanie Backus
Frank Weston Benson
Harold Harrington Betts
Franz Josef Bolinger
William Staples Drown
Emmett John Fritz
Emile Albert Gruppe
Hildegarde Hume Hamilton
Martin Johnson Heade
Hermann Ottmar Herzog
Harry Leslie Hoffman
William Morris Hunt
Benson Bond Moore
Henrich Herman Pfeiffer
John Singer Sargent
Frank Henry Shapleigh
Adolph Robert Shulz
Louis Comfort Tiffany
Louis Charles Vogt
William Aiken Walker
I am a native Floridian who collects Florida artwork. I am especially interested in Hermann Herzog, Anthony Thieme, Frank Shapleigh, and many of the other artists who painted Florida. I am strictly a private collector.
I am not a dealer nor in any way in the business of selling paintings. When I buy paintings, it is to keep in my collection. When you sell to me, you will get the highest possible price for your paintings. Beware of dealers who pass themselves off as collectors; there are some clever people out there doing this very thing.
To emphasize again, I buy these paintings for the love of old Florida, not to make money. I am available right now to buy your Florida artwork. I will pay cash, and I will pay top dollar for paintings that I need to have in my collection. If you offer a painting to me that I cannot fit in my collection, I will happily direct you to a dealer who can pay fair market wholesale value for your paintings.
I am also actively seeking artwork by Florida’s Beanie Backus and any paintings made by Florida’s Highwaymen.