QUALIFICATIONS FOR AUTHENTICATING

 FLORIDA HIGHWAYMEN ART

Since 1973, Bob LeBlanc has operated a full-time business as a professional dealer in items of exceptional beauty and value. For 22 years his focus was on the purchase and sale of investment quality rare coins. His specialty was handling original condition high grade pieces with extraordinary "eye appeal". Even as a nationally recognized expert in grading and evaluating such material, he found that the commoditization of the coin market had somehow removed the excitement of operating within it.

With the introduction of Highwaymen Art to the public by Jim Fitch in the January 1995 issue of Antiques and Art Around Florida, Bob recognized the virtual creation of a new and potentially active regional market. Transferring his skills as a negotiator, trader, and evaluator from one supply/ demand market to another, he began to study and acquire as many paintings as possible.

Since the publication of that article, Bob has invested time, effort, and money to promote highwaymen art, exhibiting, with his son, Brian, at antique shows from Miami to Tallahassee, and creating, with his daughter, Amy, a web presence.

Since 1996, Bob has handled many of the finest, most important highwaymen paintings to become available on the market, including the Harold Newton pine tree pictured on the cover of Antiques and Art Around Florida, winter/ spring 1997, the Harold Newton river sunset pictured on the cover of the Hambrick video documentary, as well as the first highwaymen painting to reach the $10,000.00 level. In November 2001 the New York Times found that to be an impressive number, and published it as part of the highwaymen story in their national edition, thus validating the entire market.

The Highwaymen video documentary, created by Jack Hambrick, and broadcast nationally on PBS beginning in February 2003, shows Bob (although not identified in the film) introducing Harold Newton's work to a customer at the West Palm Beach antique show, one of his monthly venues. Entertaining and informative, this program further validates, and as it still airs, continues to broaden this once strictly regional market.

Since becoming involved with this art, Bob estimates that he has bought and sold in excess of  3,000 highwaymen paintings, a significant amount, but only a small fraction of the existing supply of work by these artists.

 

 

For further details, please call Bob at (727) 809-1691.

 

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