Skip to content
Highwaymen paintings

Highwaymen paintings could command top dollar at Gray’s Dec. 11.

Highwaymen paintings
One of a pair of oil on board paintings by Harold Newton (1934-1994), a founder of the Florida Highwaymen group of artists. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000 each. Gray’s Auctioneers image

CLEVELAND – Gray’s Auctioneers will finish the year in style with a Fine Art, Furniture and Decorative Art auction on Wed., Dec. 11. Offered will be treasures from fine estates across northeast Ohio, as well as a gorgeous collection of Persian rugs, runners and carpets. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

Fine art will be offered in abundance, starting with lots 1 and 2, a pair of oil on board paintings by Harold Newton, a founder of the legendary Florida Highwaymen group of artists. Both paintings (Lot No. 1 above) depict a beach by moonlight, gently lapping waves and palm trees rustling in the warm evening breezes. The glow of the moon appears to be peeking out from under the frame, a masterful, elegant trick of the eye.

Both paintings carry estimates of $3,000-$5,000. The Florida Highwaymen were a group of 26 African American landscape artists in Florida. Collectively they created a body of work of over 200,000 paintings from the 1950s through the 1980s, despite facing many racial and cultural barriers. Today their works are coveted by collectors. Gray’s sold a beach scene by Newton in their Aug. 28, 2019 auction, for $20,000 (hammer price).

As a founding member, Harold Newton (1934-1994) was one of the more pivotal members of the Highwaymen. Like the others, he painted mostly scenes of Florida’s coastlines and wetlands, which the men sold door-to-door and out of the trunks of their cars, along the coastal roads A1A and U.S. Route 1, often for very little money. Harold Newton died at age 59, a year after suffering a debilitating stroke.

Lots 9 and 10 are beautifully rendered oil on canvas domestic scenes with figures that appear to have been painted by the same Old Master artist, in the style of the Dutch or Antwerp Old Masters from the 17th or 18th century. Both are unsigned and each one measures 28½ by 16¾ inches. They have been assigned reasonable estimates of $5,000-$7,000 each.

Lot 11 is a charming portrait of a young girl in a white dress by the American artist Henry Inman (1801-1846). Inman was an accomplished portrait, genre and landscape painter, but he truly excelled in portrait painting. Among his many subjects were prominent political figures, Native Americans, British luminaries and others. The lovely portrait in the auction is expected to change hands for $2,000-$4,000.

Highwaymen paintings
Charming oil on canvas portrait of a young girl in a white dress by the American artist Henry Inman (1801-1846), unsigned, framed dimensions 32¼ x 28¼in. Estimate: $2,000-$4,000. Gray’s Auctioneers image

Another striking painting is lot 8A, a depiction of a mourning Mary Magdalene by Peter Rothermel (American, 1817-1895). The signed work, with an estimate of $2,000-$5,000, is reminiscent of a pre-Raphaelite beauty. Rothermel is known for his biblical subjects, although his most celebrated painting is the Battle of Gettysburg, a massive artwork that hangs in the State Museum in Philadelphia.

Highwaymen paintings
Painting of a mourning Mary Magdalene by Peter Rothermel (American, 1817-1895), reminiscent of a pre-Raphaelite beauty, 30 x 25in (sight), artist signed lower right. Estimate: $2,000-$5,000. Gray’s Auctioneers image

Lot 5 is a dynamic 19th century seascape by Edward Moran (1829-1901), the English-born American artist of maritime paintings. The signed oil on canvas, 16 inches by 20 inches (sight) captures sailors gripping on to a boat while a squall whips up the ocean and fills the sails. The painting should bring $3,000-$5,000. Moran is known for his series of 13 historical paintings of United States marine history.

Highwaymen paintings
Dynamic 19th century seascape by Edward Moran (1829-1901), an English-born American artist of maritime paintings, a signed oil on canvas, 16 x 20in (sight). Estimate: $3,000-$5,000. Gray’s Auctioneers image

The auction features a fascinating collection of Japanese paintings and prints, starting with lot 77, an amusing and playful gouache on silk by Kamisaka Sekka (1866-1942), a wonderful scene of several figures blown about by a gust of wind that has whisked an umbrella out of an outstretched hand. The 50½-by-19½-inch (sight) work, titled Figures in a Gust of Wind, is estimated to hit $2,000-$4,000.

The furniture category will be led by a 19th century Regency satinwood sofa table, painted in the style of Angelica Kauffmann (Swiss, 1741-1807). The 57½-inch-wide table should sell for $5,000-$7,000.

The auction will conclude with a generous collection of rugs, runners and carpets, including lot 308, an antique Caucasian Kazak wool rug, circa 1880s, 6 feet 4 inches by 6 feet 9 inches (est. $4,000-$6,000); and lot 293, a magnificent 20th century Persian silk and wool rug copied from the design of a rug in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England, 18 feet by 12 feet 1 inch (est. $3,000-$5,000).

Highwaymen paintings
20th century Persian silk and wool rug copied from the design of a rug in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England, 18ft x 12 ft. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000. Gray’s Auctioneers image

In all, 355 lots will come up for bid.

For details contact Gray’s Auctioneers & Appraisers at 216-226-3300 or

[av_button label=’View the fully illustrated catalog and bid on LiveAuctioneers.’ link=’manually,’ link_target=’_blank’ size=’medium’ position=’center’ label_display=” title_attr=” icon_select=’no’ icon=’ue800′ font=’entypo-fontello’ color=’theme-color’ custom_bg=’#444444′ custom_font=’#ffffff’ av_uid=’av-tmz70q’ id=” custom_class=” admin_preview_bg=”]

Highwaymen paintings