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GUY PÈNE DU BOIS (1884-1958) Lytton Strachey. Portrait published in The Saturday Review of Literature, February 6, 1932. Pen and ink on paper. 215x318 mm; 8 1/2x12 1/2 inches (sight). Signed "G. P. du Bois" in lower right image, and dated 32. Archivally matted and framed with gallery and exhibition labels on verso of backing board. Not removed from frame for inspection.
Exhibited: "Guy Pène du Bois: Artist About Town," Corcoran Gallery of Art, October 10-November 30, 1980, with subsequent tour to Joslyn Art Museum, January 10-March 1, 1981, and Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, March 20-May 10, 1981 (No. 61 in catalogue).
Pène du Bois' portrait of Lytton Strachey, the British writer and critic, was published shortly after Strachey's death, which occurred on January 21, 1932. Pène du Bois depicts the author in his characteristic beard and horn-rimmed glasses while seated and absorbed in his own thoughts. A founding member of the Bloomsbury Group and author of Eminent Victorians (1918), Strachey is known for his biographies that combined psychological insight with witty irreverence. Pène du Bois' inclusion of a rough portrait of Queen Victoria hanging on the wall is a subtle nod to Strachey's 1921 biography of the Queen, which was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
Pène du Bois began contributing illustrations of literary figures for The Saturday Review of Literature upon his return to the United States in 1930 after spending four years in France.