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Guy Pène Du Bois papers, circa 1900-1963

Guy Pène Du Bois papers, circa 1900-1963

Du Bois, Guy Pène, 1884-1958

Painter, Art critic

Collection Information

Size: 1.8 linear feet

Summary: The papers of painter and art critic Guy Pène Du Bois measure 1.8 linear feet and date from circa 1900 to 1963 with the bulk of the materials dating from 1920 to 1963. Found within the papers are biographical material; personal and professional correspondence, including letters from Royal Cortissoz and Edward Hopper; writings, including essays, short stories, and drafts of the autobiography "Artists Say the Silliest Things"; personal business records; printed material; and artwork.

Biographical materials consist of certificates, a curriculum vitae, passport, and a photograph of two unidentified women.

Correspondence is primarily with Du Bois' family, friends, and business associates. The series includes significant correspondence from fellow art critic Royal Cortissoz; artists Raphael Soyer and Edward Hopper; and writers Samuel Duff McCoy, Lincoln Isham, and Newton Booth Tarkington. Other correspondents of note include C.W. Kraushaar Art Galleries and Du Bois' son, the children's book illustrator William Pène Du Bois.

Writings include book drafts of Du Bois' autobiography, "Artists Say the Silliest Things", journal entries, 35 essays, 8 short stories, and various writing fragments and notes.

Personal business records consist of account and sales records from C.W. Kraushaar Art Galleries, book and publishing contracts, and receipts for art supply purchases.

Printed material includes a brochure for the Guy Pène Du Bois School of Art, clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, and miscellaneous printed material.

Artwork consists of pen and ink sketches by Du Bois and a print by an unknown artist.

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter and art critic Guy Pène Du Bois (1884-1958) lived and worked in New York City, New York and was known for his realist paintings, essays, and art reviews.

Provenance

The Guy Pène Du Bois papers were donated by Du Bois' daughter, Yvonne McKenney, in 1971.

Related Materials

The Archives also holds the Guy Pßene Du Bois and Mary Lightfoot Tarleton correspondence.

Funding

Processing of this collection was funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Location of Originals

  • Sketches and etching proofs, Reel 29: Originals returned to Yvonne McKenney and William Pene du Bois after microfilming.
  • Diaries, Reel 2008: Originals returned to Willa Kim after microfilming.

A Finding Aid to the Guy Pène Du Bois Papers in the Archives of American Art
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Biographical/Historical note
Painter and art critic Guy Pène Du Bois (1884-1958) lived and worked in New York City, New York and was known for his realist paintings, essays, and art reviews.
Du Bois was born in Brooklyn, New York to the art critic Henri Du Bois and his wife Laura. After he showed an early interest in art, his' family supported his decision to enroll in William Merritt Chase's New York School of Art at the age of 15. There, Du Bois trained with the realist painters Robert Henri and Kenneth Hayes Miller along with fellow students George Bellows, Edward Hopper, and Rockwell Kent. In 1905, he traveled to Paris and studied briefly with the artist Thèophile Steinlen, but returned to New York the following year after the death of his father. To help support his family, he found work as an illustrator and cartoonist for the
New York American
, and was promoted to the position of art critic for the newspaper in 1909.
In 1911, Du Bois married his wife, Florence Duncan, and became an assistant writer for the
New York Tribune
under Royal Cortissoz (1913). Du Bois also wrote art reviews for the
New York Post
(1916-1918), and was a writer and later editor of
Arts and Decoration
(1913-1915, 1917-1921). During these years, Du Bois also began to establish a career as a realist painter of note. His work was included in the 1913 Armory Show, after which he signed on as a member of the Kraushaar Gallery stable. Throughout the 1910s, Du Bois exhibited in numerous galleries and museums, and held his first one-man show in 1918 at the Whitney Studio Club.
From 1920 to 1924, Du Bois taught at the Art Students League, and spent the latter part of the 1920s in France with his family. After seven years, he moved his family back to Connecticut and opened the Guy Pène Du Bois School of Art in Stonington, Connecticut. Throughout the 1930s, Du Bois continued painting and received commissions to design federal murals in upstate New York (1937) and Boston (1942). In 1940, Du Bois published his autobiography,
Artists Say the Silliest Things
. After the death of his wife in 1950, Du Bois lived and traveled with his daughter's family and died in her home in Boston in 1958.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 6 series.
Biographical material, 1929-1954 (4 folders; Box 1)
Correspondence, 1908-1958 (0.5 linear feet; Box 1)
Writings, circa 1900-1954 (1.1 linear feet; Box 1-3)
Personal business records, circa 1920-1949 (3 folders; Box 3)
Printed material, circa 1920-1963 (0.3 linear feet; Box 3)
Artwork, circa 1920-1954 (2 folders; Box 3)
Provenance
The Guy Pène Du Bois papers were donated by Du Bois' daughter, Yvonne McKenney, in 1971.
Location of Originals
  • Sketches and etching proofs, Reel 29: Originals returned to Yvonne McKenney and William Pene du Bois after microfilming.
  • Diaries, Reel 2008: Originals returned to Willa Kim after microfilming.
Processing Information note
Materials received a preliminary level of processing at some point after donation and were microfilmed onto reel 28. All materials were fully processed and described by Judy Ng in 2013 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Additional Forms Available

Portions of this collection are available on microfilm reel 28 at the Archives of American Art offices, and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the papers as described in the finding aid does not reflect the order of the collection on microfilm due to reprocessing.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Restrictions on Use

Diaries, Reel 2008: Permission to authorize, quote, reproduce must be obtained from: Willa Kim, 250 West 82nd St., New York, N.Y.

How to Cite This Collection

Guy Pène Du Bois papers, circa 1900-1963. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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