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Guy Pène du Bois papers, circa 1900-1963

Biographical 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.
Pène Du Bois was born in Brooklyn, New York to the art critic Henri Pène 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, Pène 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, Pène Du Bois married his wife, Florence Duncan, and became an assistant writer for the New York Tribune under Royal Cortissoz (1913). Pène 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, Pène 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, Pène 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, Pène 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, Pène Du Bois continued painting and received commissions to design federal murals in upstate New York (1937) and Boston (1942). In 1940, Pène Du Bois published his autobiography, Artists Say the Silliest Things. After the death of his wife in 1950, Pène Du Bois lived and traveled with his daughter's family and died in her home in Boston in 1958.