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Robert Butler (September 25, 1943 – March 19, 2014) was an American painter best known for his portrayals of the woods and backwaters around Florida's Everglades. He was a member of the well-known African-American artist's group, The Highwaymen.

Robert Butler
BornSeptember 25, 1943
Died (aged 70)
NationalityAfrican American
EducationHigh School
Known forPaintings depicting Florida's Wildlife and Landscapes
Board member ofThe Florida Highwaymen LLC (Pres.)
Spouse(s)Dorothy Butler
ChildrenRobert Jr., Daniel, David (deceased)
Samuel, Dorene, Timothy
Michael (deceased), Aletha, Angela
Parent(s)Annie Talifer Butler

Early lifeEdit

Butler was born in the small timber and farming community of Baxley, Georgia, on September 25, 1943. Raised by his mother, Annie Talifer Butler, who always took time to instill the principles of faith and compassion in her family, Butler considers his upbringing as "classically American."[citation needed]

In 1947, Butler moved to Okeechobee, Florida, where he later became intimately familiar with the woods and waters of the Florida Everglades, and especially Lake Okeechobee, that feature prominently in his paintings. Robert Butler's goal in his paintings was to preserve the nature around him which was easily accessible due to his location. The inspiration for the content of his paintings was drawn from those various landscapes.[1]

His professional career began in 1968. In the early days, he often sold his paintings door-to-door or on the roadside. The term "Highwayman" which Butler helped to coin for his category of artist was given due to their method of producing paintings and then traveling along the highways of Florida to sell the paintings for a living.[2] He honed his skills by creating upwards of one hundred paintings per year.[citation needed] Despite a lack of formal training, Robert developed his own style, which was exemplified by dramatically-lit portrayals of landscapes.

Butler was named a Knight by a member of the Royal Family of Ethiopia, namely Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie. The Imperial Order of the Star of Honor of the Ethiopian Empire, the order to which Butler was inducted, was created to honor both domestic and foreign individuals who had given exemplary service to the Ethiopian Empire.[3]


Sometime in his 40's Butler was diagnosed with diabetes; a disease which eventually contributed to his death while living at a nursing home in Lakeland, Florida.[4] Butler died on March 19, 2014 at the age of 70.[5] Butler was the influence for many individuals in the African American community and helped them to express themselves through artistry, some of these artists included the majority of his own children.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Robert Butler -". Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  2. ^ ganameide (December 3, 2007), The Highwaymen Artist Robert Butler, retrieved November 10, 2017
  3. ^ "The Highwaymen". Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  4. ^ "Highwaymen painter Robert Butler dies at age 70". March 19, 2014. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  5. ^ Pera, Eric (March 19, 2014) Noted Landscape Painter Robert Butler Dies. The Ledger (Lakeland, Florida). The Ledger, Retrieved March 19, 2014.


External linksEdit