Mr. Joseph Vance Pitts, Jr., 68, passed away quietly and peacefully, Tuesday, February 11, 2014, at his home.
Mr. Pitts was born May 12, 1945, in Atlanta, GA, son of the late Joseph Vance Pitts, Sr. and Winifred Pitts Nixon. He was an accomplished landscape and photo-realist painter and draughtsman. He was an alumnus of the University of Georgia and received a M.F.A. in Painting and Drawing from the University of Mississippi. Mr. Pitts also studied studio work at the Corcoran School of Art and at the Leeds Polytechnic College of Art in Yorkshire, UK. Mr. Pitts was an inspiring teacher of formal and informal students. He taught at the University of Mobile, the University of South Alabama, Mobile; The Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, FL; and the University of Mississippi. Mr. Pitts was active in The Sons of Confederacy, Columbus Art Guild Society, Chattahoochee Valley Art Museum, LaGrange, GA and Artist in Residence, LaGrange, GA
His work has been shown widely, including locally, and in such illustrious venues as the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans. His work has been included in many other exhibitions and books, including a book called "Southern Realism" curated /written by Tom Dewey and Donald Kuspit. Joe was deeply rooted in a naturalistic style, and was particularly inspired by Ashcan painters, including offshoots of the tradition in the form of his teacher Lamar Dodd; as well as renowned landscape painters such as George Innes and Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot.
His paintings are in numerous collections including the Mobile Museum of Art, Am South and the University of Mississippi. Joe resided in LaGrange, GA, at his home, Creola, with his wife Jane, also a painter, where he recently built a beautiful painting studio. Among a collection of fine works of art and antiques, Joe had a menagerie of dogs and other barnyard animals including a goose, Beauregard.
Mr. Pitts is survived by his loving wife of 16 years, Jane Dunn Pitts; daughter, Leslie Suzanne Dunn of San Francisco, CA; son, James Richard Dunn, LaGrange, GA; three year old granddaughter, Isabella Constance Dunn, LaGrange, GA; adopted son, Clay Mitchell Dean, Sr., Mattoon, IL; adopted daughter, Amy Pemberton, San Francisco, CA; and godson, Clay Mitchell Dean, Jr.
The Funeral Mass will be held 11:00 A.M. Friday, February 14, 2014, at St. Peter's Catholic Church in LaGrange, GA. Burial will follow in Shadowlawn Cemetery. The Gathering of Family and Friends will be Thursday, February 13, 2014, from 6:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at the funeral home. The Rosary will be said at 7:00 P.M. by Fr. Joel Martin, O.S.B.
In lieu of gifts or flowers, the family asks that donations be made to St. Bernard's Prep School in Cullman, Alabama for a scholarship fund in honor of Joe. Checks may be made payable to St. Bernard's Abbey, 1600 St. Bernard Drive, SE, Cullman, AL 35055 / (256) 739-6682, www.stbernardprep.com
Those wishing to share a condolence or remembrance with the family may do so by visiting www.shlagrange.com.
Arrangements are by Striffler-Hamby Mortuary, 1010 Mooty Bridge Road, LaGrange, GA 30240 (706) 884-8636