National Public Radio has embarked upon a series of stories about the Florida landscape painters who sold their works along the side of the road. Hence, the name of the group became The Highwaymen. Their art was popular in the 60s, fell into obscurity then experienced something of a revival recently.
In the first installment, NPR focuses on the mastermind of the group, Alfred Hair, who died in a bar fight at the age of 29:
And it was Hair’s success and good looks that would lead to his demise. As is often the case, the legend varies depending on the storyteller. But in short:
On a fateful summer day in 1970, Hair asked Doretha if she would object to him grabbing a beer with another Highwayman. At the local bar, a jealous patron believed Hair was seeing his girlfriend and shot him in the chest; he died at 29.
That episode had the rest of The Highwaymen reeling. Their enterprise nearly died with Hair, and the market for their paintings all but dried up as tastes changed.
Recently, the publication of a few books has led to a renaissance. Paintings by The Highwaymen can command thousands today, and owners include Michelle Obama and Steven Spielberg.