(OCALA, Fla.) Jan. 9, 2009 – A 20th century artist famous for his vivid tropical landscapes, and a mentor of the group of African-American painters known as the Florida Highwaymen, A.E. “Bean” Backus was a master at capturing light, season and wind direction in his paintings.  More than 50 pieces of his art, including working sketches, will be exhibited at the Appleton Museum from Feb. 14 through April 12. Regular daily admission to the Appleton is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors 55 or better and students 19 and over, $3 for youths age 10-18, $12 for a family of two adults and accompanying children, and free for children age nine and under and CF students. 

Born in 1906 along the Indian River in Fort Pierce, Fla., Backus was largely self-taught as an artist.  His formal art education consisted of two summers at Parsons Art School in New York City.  Backus’ 1930s and 1940s paintings show bold gestures through the heavy use of the palette knife, but by the 1950s his works were more controlled and detailed.  Backus came into prominence as a national artist in the 1960s when his work was hung in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s library in Texas and in the Senate offices in Washington, D.C.  He was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 1993 and painted up until his death on June 6, 1990.

The Appleton Museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to
5 p.m. on Sundays and closed on Mondays.  In addition to daily admission, a 12-month membership is also available for $25 for seniors 55 and over, $30 for adults 18 and over, $40 for two seniors over age 55, $50 for a family of two adults and any children under age 18, and $15 for all college students or educators including teachers, professors, instructors and retired educators. Owned and operated by College of Central Florida, the Appleton Museum of Art is located at 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, Fla., just east of downtown Ocala on SR40 (exit 352 east off I-75 or exit 268 west off I-95).  For more information call the Appleton Museum of Art at 352-291-4455 or visit