GUY PÈNE DU BOIS
With artist, title, and location 'New York' on label verso, oil on canvas
20 1/8 x 40 1/4 in. (51.1 x 102.2cm)
Property of the Ira Greenhill Revocable Trust.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, n.d.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Pène du Bois studied under William Merritt Chase at the New York School of Art, and later trained under realist artists Robert Henri and Kenneth Hayes Miller. Throughout his career he worked as an illustrator, editor, and critic for publications such as the New York American and Arts and Decoration magazine. He exhibited his work frequently and also became a teacher for both the Art Students League in New York City, and later in Stonington, Connecticut, where he founded an art school of his own.
Pène du Bois is most well known for his clever and often sardonic depictions of New York society, developing his quintessential stylized figures which highlight pretentiousness and duplicity behind many human encounters. Famed art collector and art critic Duncan Phillips praised him as "an irrepressible mocker of human absurdity and a clever satirist of types familiar to our modern world." Phillips also admired Pène du Bois's keen sense of color and "flair for good painting," referring to the artist as "a remarkably able draughtsman [...] There is a clearness and a resonance in his pinks, blues, scarlets, and blacks." The aforementioned color palette and stylized figures are prominent in the present lot, which shows a number of various social interactions occurring as small vignettes throughout the composition. Of particular note is the woman in pink-the only female in the painting-on whom most of the color is concentrated, and who immediately draws the eye through her appearance of isolation and contemplation. Each encounter seems to be a separate engagement unto itself. The title, "Locked Jury", indicates a sense of disagreement and stalemate; the dark, almost smoky appearance of the room adds to the somber, yet intense sentiment exuding from the canvas.
Sold for $50,000 (buyer's premium included)