Jun 30, 2022 - Sale 2611

Sale 2611 - Lot 239

Price Realized: $ 2,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,000 - $ 3,000
Portrait of a Woman.

Oil on paper, circa 1935. 415x350 mm; 16 1/4x13 3/4 inches. Signed in oil, upper right recto.

Provenance: Private collection, New York.

Pène du Bois (1884-1958), born in Brooklyn, spent his childhood on Staten Island and attended the New York School of Art as a student of Robert Henri and classmate of George Bellows, Edward Hopper, Rockwell Kent, Walter Pach, and Gifford Beal. Henri advocated for faithful depictions of urbanites, usually done quickly (as a newspaper illustrator would) and picking up the threads of his subjects' anecdotes. A promising young artist, Pène du Bois studied for a short time in Paris and exhibited at a Salon in 1905. He returned to New York in the summer of 1906 and started work as a reporter for the New York American, eventually becoming an art critic for the publication. During his career as a writer, he would also contribute to Arts and Decoration, the New York Post, International Studio, Creative Art, and Arts Weekly. Pène du Bois established himself as an artist in the 1910's and was one of the founding members of the Whitney Studio Club in New York in 1918. As part of his work for the Club, he arranged his very close lifelong friend, Hopper's first exhibition in 1920. As an extension of his successful painting and writing, he became a well-respected curator, juror, and teacher.

The foundation of Pène du Bois's mature style is Henri's philosophy of accessibility and urban realism, from which he subtracted the Ashcan style anecdotal narrative and added his own imagination and ambiguity. His glamorous subjects are not to be envied, as they are frequently detached, either psychologically or physically isolated in an almost satirical way.