Saturday, May 5, 2012

In Memorium: Paul Pitt. May 5th, 2012

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


KeRobinson said...

R.I.P. Paul Pitt Thanks for sharing your art with us :)

Beverly Kaye said...

I so appreciate your comment. Thank you KeRobinson.

Arlene Brown-Jenkins said...

RIP Paul. I grew up with Paul, but once we got older I lost contact with him. Paul was always so quiet and shy and he was such a nice person. I didn't know that he was an artist, I knew his brother Charlie was because I always wanted a picture from him. Paul you will be missed.

Beverly Kaye said...

Arlene, thank you so much for your comment. Everyone who knew Paul and/or collected his works is so devastated by his loss. Two of the remaining three paintings I have here are going to a museum collection and I so wish I could have told him the news. He would have been so excited and proud.
I never had the chance to see any of Charlie's works and would love someday to see images of his painting. I remember Mrs. Pitt telling me years ago how much she enjoyed Charlie's paintings as well as those created by Paul.

Anonymous said...

Richard Melluzzo I knew Paul from elementary school and on to Bulkeley High School in Hartford. Playing football on the offensive line with Paul was like something from the Blind Side. He was quiet and very protective of the rest of us, but he had a wonderful sense of humor even when other teams might be beating us. Having Paul on your side was always reassuring.He was a shy young man but one could sense there was real depth to him as a person.. I had no idea he was artistically inclined, but nothing about Paul and his talents and character would surprise me. My deepest condolences to Paul's family- we have all lost a special individual

Beverly Kaye said...

Thank you so much for your comments and insight into the man we all loved. There's always so much we never know about a person unless we share our information. I am very grateful and I know the family will take great solace in your words.

CSquare said...

I just learned of Paul's death -- I am so sorry to hear of it. I own one of his paintings and it gives me great joy each time I look at it. He was a lovely man and a fine artist.