Hillsborough River or Taylor’s Crossing
Oil on canvas, 2008
H: 24 ¼” W: 30 ¼”
Acquired from the artist in 2009
Born to sharecroppers in Baxley, Georgia, Butler moved to Okeechobee with his mother when he was four. He grew up hunting and fishing and developed an intimate understanding of his natural surroundings. Butler enjoyed drawing and painting since he was a child, selling his first painting in seventh grade. He began painting professionally in 1968. His subject matter and style differed from those of the coastal Highwaymen. Butler painted scenes from the backcountry of central Florida, filled with the woods, rivers, wildlife, and local fauna he loved. He considered his work to be documentary in nature—recording the disappearing beauty of Florida. Beginning in the late 1960s, he worked with environmentalists from across the state of Florida, from whom he gained scientific knowledge of his subject matter. His love of natural Florida comes through in his detailed but romanticized landscapes.