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Folk art sale features work of Highwaymen
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Alfred Hair's "Red Sunset" is an oil painting on upsom board with artist's crown moulding frame.

Self-taught Art Fall Masterpiece Sale

What: Slotin Folk Art auction

When: 10 a.m. Saturday

Where: 112 E. Shadburn Ave., Buford

How much: Free with complimentary breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks

More info: 770-532-1115

It’s time for another Slotin Folk Art auction, and this one will feature a special collection of Florida Highwaymen paintings.

The Florida Highwaymen paintings have become popular in the folk art world recently because of their depiction of the east central Florida coast in the 1960s.

"When you look at it you think it’s hotel art but this is where it came from," said Steve Slotin, the auction’s owner. "They were local scenes, local rivers, local landscapes. They were all over the area.

"What we have left is a really remarkable group of art that came out of this one little area; that is, when you look at it, is the quintessential kind of cheesy Florida look. But when you take a deeper look at it, it’s the African-American experience and business entrepreneurship of that region."

"It’s kind of a new phenomenon, around the 1960s there was a trained white artist that settled down in central Florida on the east coast and he was a pretty famous landscape artist and he showed a couple of black guys ... how to paint," Slotin said. "He said first you make a background and then you do the foreground and you do some birds and some trees, some sunsets. Well the guys made it a business."

Slotin added that the Highwaymen acted like an assembly line. One man would paint the background, one would paint the foreground and another man would take the paintings to hotels and banks and sell them.

"Before you knew it they were going to scrap yards and lumber yards," Slotin said.

"They were picking up material and they would make their own frames out of discarded house moulding, like for your ceilings or floor. They were able to frame them with the mouldings so they could stack 10 or 20 in a car, while they were still wet without touching each other."

The Slotin Folk Art auction will feature 920 lots of self-taught art this weekend.

"The things that we specialize in were the Southern, especially Georgia, pieces," Slotin said. "A great example of Lanier Meaders who’s right there from Cleveland ... great big, important pieces from Howard Finster who was from Summerville. We actually have two pieces of African-American artists, one is Bill Trailer who was a freed slave living on the streets of Montgomery, Ala., homeless in the 1940s; we have two of his drawings in the auction."

Those that can’t make the auction in person are welcome to place bids over the telephone or Internet. "They can bid on the Internet, like eBay, or they can be live on the phone," Slotin said.

"It starts at 10 a.m. and we go in exact order of the catalogue, so we do about 70 or 80 lots an hour, so by the time we get to the Highwaymen it could be well into late afternoon."

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