Guy Pène du Bois was born in Brooklyn, New York. A writer and artist, he critiqued New York society and culture through his pen and his paintbrush. He studied with William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri, though he eventually shook off the dark realism of his teachers in favor of simplified, satirical paintings of the fashionable upper class. In his writings, du Bois promoted new art movements and publicized the 1913 Armory Show, which became a landmark event in American art.
Would you describe this painting as idealized or realistic?
Du Bois’s work is easily recognizable for its stylized, sculptural treatment of the figure, as seen in this painting of a seated nude. The composition’s strength lies in its simplicity, attesting to his belief that the true realist explored what was essential and indefinable about their subject, in his words “a shameless fellow completely unafraid of reality . . . a fellow with eyes to see and a heart to accept and appreciate the contours of his own kind.”
Gift from the Estate of June and Jerrold Kingsley