Jan 28, 2021 - Sale 2556

Sale 2556 - Lot 104

Price Realized: $ 2,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,500 - $ 3,500
GUY PÈNE DU BOIS (1884-1958)
T.S. Eliot / Prufrock. Likely portrait for The Saturday Review of Literature, circa 1932. Pen and ink on paper. 210x320 mm; 8 1/4x12 1/2 inches, on 11x17 1/2-inch sheet. Signed "Guy Pène du Bois" in lower right image; captioned "Portrait of a Poet" at lower center in artist's hand. Archivally matted and framed with James Graham & Sons gallery label on verso of backing board.

Pène du Bois caricatures the angular features of T.S. Eliot and includes references to his prolific poetry through the spines of books stacked nearby. While in life Eliot typically wore his hair slicked back, Pène du Bois gives him curls and depicts him daintily holding a spoon, a clever reference to Eliot's first professionally published poem from 1915, 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,' which contains the line 'I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.' Pène du Bois' portrait was likely completed in 1932, around the time Eliot returned from London to the United States in order to become a professor at Harvard, where he once studied.