Untitled Florida Landscape
Oil on canvas, undated
H: 23 ¼” W: 29”
Acquired from the artist in 2004
Willie Daniels was born in Bainbridge, Georgia, and a decade later, he and his family moved to Fort Pierce. There were not many opportunities for a young Black man to earn money in Fort Pierce, so Daniels labored as a fruit picker in a citrus grove. As destiny would have it, Daniels was a neighbor of Harold Newton and Roy McLendon, two of the most talented Highwaymen. He watched them paint over and over again and by this method taught himself how to paint.
As the Highwaymen’s art fell out of favor, Daniels found other means of making a living. He was working as a truck driver in Georgia when he discovered that there had been a resurgence of interest in his and the other Highwaymen’s work during the mid-1990s. Daniels returned to Fort Pierce and spent the rest of his life working as an artist. He was known for painting gnarled oak trees, which border on the surreal.