John Pitre

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John Pitre (born 1942 in New York City) is an American visionary art painter based in Hawaii. He has been called the most bankable living American surrealist.[1]

One of John Pitre's best known paintings is A New Dawn, a 1965 work which shows a modern human reduced to the status of a caveman in the midst of smoldering urban ruins. This painting, in the weeks after the September 11, 2001 attacks more than thirty five years later, was seen by some as a foreshadowing of what came to be known as the Ground Zero of those events.[2] In 2004, the owner of the original painting, which was valued in 1997 at $1.7 million, offered A New Dawn in trade for a £1 million house on the London real estate market.[1]

John Pitre's art addresses issues such as ecology, overpopulation, responsibility for stewardship of the Earth, the quest to understand the mysteries of the universe, and the fragility of life and of relationships.[3] Posters of his paintings were very popular in the 1960s and 1970s[4] and one of them, a print of his painting Restrictions,[5] has sold several million copies.

John Pitre studied at the Art Students League of New York[6] and has lived and worked in Hawaii for three decades. With his wife Patricia, his ex-wife Ginette and their artist daughters Dawn Pitre and Tanya Joy, he is the proprietor of Pitre Fine Arts in Honolulu.


Pitre is also an inventor.[4] Pitre invented the Range of Motion (ROM) and Time Works exercise equipment[7][8][9] which was rated the "Best of What's new in 1993" by Popular Science magazine. With decorative tile artist Thomas Deir,[10] who was his apprentice at the time, Pitre co-invented Genesis Artist Colors,[11][12] a synthetic oil paint which remains wet and malleable until it is heat cured.

Pitre is also a diver,[13][14] an environmentalist,[15] the founder and director of Natural Power Concepts,[16] and pilots helicopters[17] and ultralight seaplanes.[18]


A few of John Pitre's patents:

  • 1988: variable resistance exercise apparatus[19]
  • 1997: plastisol paint, with Thomas Deir[20]
  • 1999: full body exercise apparatus[21]


  • John Pitre: The Art and Works of a Visionary. Barbara T. Erskine and Roger Jellinek, eds. Honolulu: Pitre Fine Arts, 1996. ISBN 0-9648183-0-2.


  1. ^ a b Paul Taylor (5 February 2004). "The art of swapping your way to a £1m home". Manchester Evening News. 
  2. ^ James Auer (October 10, 2001). "Painting foreshadows ground zero images". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It was titled, "A New Dawn," and it showed a human being - now reduced, in the words of the artist, John Pitre, "to the status of a caveman" - standing in front of a pile of smoldering ruins, all that remained of a fallen New York skyscraper [image]. In the accompanying text Pitre noted that he had made the oil painting in 1965 as he watched the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. build their nuclear arsenals. 
  3. ^ George Filip (Spring 2007). "Living the Fantasy" (pdf). The Q (vol. 01, no. 4, p. 16), the Arts Magazine of the Qbix Gallery, Old City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Because surrealism can evoke emotion and stimulate thought, it can also serve as a forceful vehicle for social commentary… Water, light and circles play symbolic roles in Pitre’s art. Water is symbolic of birth, and cleansing of consciousness. Light represents enlightenment and divine understanding. The circle signifies the cycle of Life, unity with nature, and eternity.  External link in |work= (help)
  4. ^ a b Robert Wyland. "John Pitre". Wyland Fine Art. Today, many of his paintings are considered modern classics… Other creations from Pitre’s imaginative mind include devices for generating electricity from the movement of ocean waves and currents… and aircraft designs he has personally built and flown. 
  5. ^ John Pitre painting, Restrictions Archived 2007-08-14 at the Wayback Machine..
  6. ^ The Art Brokerage. "John Pitre". 
  7. ^ "'Four Minutes To Fitness' Claim Is No Exercise Shortcut". American Council on Exercise study. March 23, 1999. Time Works, according to ACE’s results, appears to be best suited to the beginning exerciser. While it does appear to offer some benefit, particularly to the lower-level exerciser, the manufacturer's claim of a four-minute workout should be modified to reflect what can be realistically expected from exercising on this machine. 
  8. ^ Mark Hinrichs. "Projects". Creative Trends Inc. 
  9. ^ "ROM (Range of Motion)". John Pitre official website.  (Featured in Vogue in 1995.)(dead link)
  10. ^ Don Acuaman (August 24, 2007). "Hawaiians' Tile". Hawaiian Style Magazine. 
  11. ^ Art Talk. "Genesis Paint Page". The Artisan, the quarterly newsletter of Genesis Artist Colors International. 
  12. ^ Joanne Hayes-Rines (January–February 2003). "Brilliant Color: The problems associated with acrylic and oil paints simply don't exist any more". Inventors' Digest. 
  13. ^ Fine Art Enterprises. "John Pitre". 
  14. ^ Celeste Adams (September 2002). "Communing with Dolphins with Ryan DeMares". The Spirit of Ma‘at, vol. 3 no. 2. My icon for this transformation is an image created by the visionary artist John Pitre. The painting hangs in a gallery in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island, Hawaii. Every time I lead a dolphin encounter group on the Kona Coast, I stop by the gallery to view that painting… a tropical ocean filled with dolphins who are ascending from the sea to the sky through a circular rainbow… 
  15. ^ Bobby Kimball (February 20, 2007). "Welcome John Pitre". Toto Network. 
  16. ^ "Natural Power Concepts website". 
  17. ^ Dennis Hollier; photos by Sergio Goes. "Birds of Steel". Hana Hou! Vol. 10, No. 4, August/September 2007. 
  18. ^ Biography. "Thomas Deir". Fine Art America. 
  19. ^ U.S. Patent No. 4,728,099 issued March 1, 1988 to John Pitre. "Variable resistance exercise apparatus". Patent Storm. 
  20. ^ U.S. Patent No. 5,700,858 issued December 23, 1997 to Thomas Deir and John Pitre. "Plastisol paint and method of use". Patent Storm. 
  21. ^ U.S. Patent No. 5,908,373 issued June 1, 1999 to John Pitre. "Full body exercise apparatus". Patent Storm. 

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