Highwaymen Art Unveiled

BARTOW -

They were called the 'Highwaymen' because they sold often-majestic paintings along the side of the road. They were poor, black and often prevented by the segregation of the day from having their works shown in art galleries. But there was little doubt about their talent.

Robert Butler was born in Georgia before he moved to Okeechobee and later to Lakeland. A handful of paintings were bought by a Polk County woman after they were first painted in the early 1970s. They disappeared from public view for years, until she bequeathed then to the Polk County Historical Museum.

Butler's art will be unveiled during a reception at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the museum, which is located in the old Polk County Courthouse in Bartow. The artist has been invited to attend.

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