Friday, June 08, 2007


June 6, 2007

Sale June 23, 2007

Mix one Porsche Carrera 2, six Florida Highwayman paintings and a helping of early Transylvania County, NC furniture. Stir well. Result? The opportunity for a great sale at Jack Eubanks Auction in Brevard, NC.

The folk art phenomenon now known as the Highwaymen had its beginning in the 1950s in Ft. Pierce Florida when a local white landscape artist, Alfred E. "Beanie" Backus, took in a young black aspiring artist named Alfred Hair. Backus showed Hair the basics of painting semi-tropical landscapes and even took him to the Bahamas to broaden his horizon. Hair, ever the entrepreneurial spirit, then organized a small group of local black artists and showed them how to "mass produce" colorful Florida landscapes. Lacking a retail outlet for their work, these young painters began to sell their wares on Florida roadways, earning them the name "Highwaymen." Eventually the group members set out on their separate ways and some of them are still active artists today even though Alfred died in 1970.

The Jack Eubanks sale of June 23 will feature 24 by 48in original oil on board Florida landscape by Hair depicting a Florida poinciana tree in all its red glory against a typical Florida backdrop. The painting, from the 1960s, is signed "A. Hair." The same local consignor also presents five more Highwaymen by another original member Sam Newton. These were acquired by a deceased member of the consignor’s family, Robert Hurd, in the 1970s when he lived in Melbourne, FL and acquired the paintings directly from Newton for $20.00 each.

The abundance of American art in this sale is augmented by the presence of a work by Charles P. Gruppe (American 1860-1940). This oil on panel entitled "Norman’s Woe" features a seascape from the Gloucester, Mass area. The 12 by 16in work without frame is artist signed and probably is from the 1920s. The same consignor had another Gruppe work, a harbor scene, in the June 10 sale at Eubanks and it was very well received. Also on the block are thirty Wallace Nutting prints, some hand colored and all with original signatures. They were purchased by a local consignor in New York over thirty years ago and range in size from 2 by 3in to 15½ by 18¼in. Some of the prints are numbered and dated.

The final entries in the art category represent the result of along investigation by auction owner Jack Eubanks who tracked down a painting signed by Rhonda J. Smith, entitled "Kentucky Games March 1979." When Eubanks tracked down the artist she turned out to be a tenured art professor at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV. Formerly the head of the Art Department, the artist relayed that the work was a post graduate pastel piece created while in Richmond, KY. When asked about another work, a drawing entitled "Time In A Bottle" signed by Skip Wiggs, she said that was the nickname of her husband Byron Alan Wiggs who now owns Middle Bridge Pottery in Keedysville, MD and sells exclusively (at West Wind Potters) in Harpers Ferry, WV.

The young at heart will be interested in the bright red Porsche Carrera 2 to try on the twisty roads of western North Carolina. The Carrera version of the Porsche 911 was introduced in 1988 for the model year 1989. The first Carrera was a four wheel drive model, the Carrera 4. The two wheel drive version, the Carrera 2, was introduced in 1990. This is a 1991 model with a 3.6 liter engine and 107,000 miles on the clock.

On the furniture side of the sale will be some items from the pre Civil War home of a family of early Transylvania County settlers including a grain painted beadboard stepback cupboard and an early farm table, some locally made items and a good cross section of late 19th and early 20th century furniture including a 19th century English tilt top table. Also featured will be a colorful period English Art Nouveau firescreen, 19¾ W by 31¾in T, made of beads on board held by copper wire.

Preview for the sale is scheduled for Friday June 22 from 11:00AM – 6:00PM and the sale is Saturday June 23 at 9:00AM in the Eubanks Auction facility at 220 S. Broad St, Brevard, NC, 28712. Reserved seating for 160 is available by phone or email. For more information contact Jack Eubanks at (828) 884-7889, email, visit the website at or

written by Fred & Gail Taylor

June 23, 2007

Hair –This Highwayman landscape is by Alfred Hair, 1941-1970.

Porsche – This red 991 Porsche Carrera 2 has 107,000 miles on it.

Gruppe – "Norman’s Woe" is signed by Charles Gruppe.

Newton – This oil on board of two palms and moonlight by Sam Newton from the 1970s is 24 by 48in.

Nutting – This colored print signed by Wallace Nutting is entitled "Overflowing Cup."

Art Nouveau firescreen – This early 20th century English Art Nouveau firescreen has a bead work on board panel with a wood frame.