In spite of his
era's cultural barriers, Willie Daniels' life unites diverse groups
within today's art world with rich landscapes and signature gnarly
oaks. Though more prominently known as one of 26 recognized
"Highwaymen Artists" of Fort Pierce, Florida, Willie Daniels Paintings
convey the heart of one. The Highwaymen was an association of young
African-American artists who painted Florida landscape in 1950s.
Quietly emerging from garage sales and dusty corners into galleries,
Willie Daniels paintings invite people into the world of an African
American man making his way through layers of racism wreckage. Daniels
was a day laborer in Fort Pierce hot citrus groves, enduring a
community where division by race was still painfully restricting. But
from fields and packing houses, his life took a colorful turn in the
late 1950s. Daniels' days blurred into fruitful evenings wielding a
quickly moving paintbrush, he learned oil painting on Upson board.
This roofing material, now obsolete, was the best economical material
for Daniels' limited budget as well as for other Highwaymen. You can
see in Willie Daniels paintings as his art evolved vividly from A.E.
Backus' style of oil painting, learning along with his brother, Johnny
Willie Daniels' authentic style formed in a rush to make many
paintings for financial gain. The hurried painter with unhindered
approach, freely and richly moving palette knives and brush strokes
bypassed the norm, breathing life into a world dominated by tradition.
The artistic flair and friendships with fellow artists opened doors to
buyers along with sheer effort. Seeking to earn more income, these
Highwaymen artists blazed an arduous trail along Florida's highways
and businesses, selling their works for as low as $25.00 a piece.
As a result, Willie Daniels paintings became part of a collection in
great demand during the late 50s and 60s, sometimes signed by fellow
artists just to satisfy customers preferring any one particular
artist. The popularity of Willie Daniels paintings faded in the 70s to
be rekindled in the 90s by interest in "outsider art". Some stories
indicate Daniels became a truck driver and is re-focusing on tropical
Willie Daniels paintings, with their classic nail-etched "W. Daniels"
decree, paint their own image of an evolving scene of unity within the
art world, calling the elite and the outsiders together in
appreciation for the resilience of soul.
Paintings For Sale
24X30 MASONITE BOARD
24X36 MASONITE BOARD
24X36 ARTIST CANVAS PANEL
ROYAL ON RIVER
MORNING ON ST LUCIE RIVER
24X36 STRETCHED CANVAS PANEL
FULL MOON ON RIVER
PALMS ON RIVER
18X24 UPSON BOARD
BACK COUNTRY FIRE SKY
24X36 UPSON BOARD
BACK COUTRY SUMMER
STORMY ST. LUCIE RIVER
SUNSET ON INDIAN RIVER
BACK COUTRY SUNSET
24X30 UPSON BOARD
BACK COUNTRY FIRE SKY
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