One of the dearest, sweetest artists I've ever represented died today in his prime. Paul Pitt was a gentle giant of a man. Quiet and soft spoken with deep family ties and an enormous talent. He was also a tender caretaker for his mother and his brother Charlie, who passed away in recent years.
His luscious, folk art paintings brought us back to a simpler time, filled with a strong sense of community and extended family. Even if we had never personally experienced his subject matter, it rang a responsive chord. A county wedding, nuns skating with their charges, a Shaker horse sale, concerts, night trains, snow scenes, a night at the opera. His talent for story telling was as charming as the man himself.
His work teemed with activity, and was populated with up to two hundred and fifty children, adults and animals from Paul's imagination. He meticulously and compulsively repainted each scene up to six times before he was willing to pronounce them completed. Within each painting, many small stories unfolded, each with their own considerable charm and humor. And always, you would find his surprise signature-- two small boys running--one black, one white, taking turns wearing the ever present red scarf.
Folk art enthusiasts loved Paul's work, and a large body of his paintings have been included in several important private and museum collections. Paul Newman used one of Pitt's "Barn Raising" paintings to illustrate an article about his communitarian projects. When folk art collectors, Baron and Ellin Gordon opened their museum in Norfolk, VA, they displayed Paul's "Country Wedding", one of at least nine works they had purchased over time.
Everyone who knew Paul adored him and I am beyond sadden by this unexpected loss.
In Memorium: Paul Pitt
folk art, non-mainstream art, self-taught art, outsider art, artbrut art