Guy Pène du Bois 1884 - 1958 American Critics, Painters
Guy Pène du Bois is perhaps best known for his keenly satirical observations of cafe society in 1920s and 1930s New York and Paris. He studied with William Merritt Chase at the New York School of Art in 1899, and subsequently took courses with Robert Henri when the latter joined the school's staff in 1902. The influence of these preeminent teachers is evident in his facility with the figure. He also took to heart Henri's exhortation to paint from real life.Guy Pène du Bois distinctive figure style carried over into his less well-known landscape painting.
Born in Brooklyn, the descendant of French immigrants who settles in Louisiana in the early eighteenth century, Guy Pène du Bois made his first trip to Paris in 1905. Once he returned to the Untied States, he wrote art criticism to supplement his income, and he seems always to have been at the center of the modern art movement. After the first exhibition of The Eight at the Macbeth Gallery in 1908 John Sloan noted: "They report a great crowd at the gallery and young du Bois, the artist and critic of The American, came in most enthusiastic over the show. He wants pictures for the article."
From 1920 to 1024, he lived with his wife and young family in Westport, Connecticut, a fashionable suburb that attracted writers including F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sherwood Anderon. There Guy Pène du Bois was able to observe the frenetic gaiity of the Prohibition era and the rise of the flapper. His acute observations captured social stereotypes and held them up to the light. In 1924, he moved to Paris, securing a reasonable rent in a village some thirty miles from the city. The paintings he made there were rapidly sold through his New York dealer, and thus he was able to remain abroad until the stock market crash of 1929, when he and his family had to return to the United States.
Guy Pène du Bois took up teaching upon his return, and in 1932 established a summer school of art in Stonington, Connecticut, where he held classes for more than twenty years. While he is not recognized for landscape paintings, he obviously relished the opportunity that summer session gave him to paint the countryside. In Farm Landscape, the rounded shapes of the foreground bushes and the trees dotting the terrain recalls the contours of his human figures.