Guy Pène Du Bois (American 1854–1958)
Woman in Parlor, 1905
Oil on artists board, 7 ½ H. x 10 W. inches
Signed Lower Left: Guy Pène Du Bois

Besty Fahlman, Guy Pène Du Bois Painter of Modern Life, New York: James Graham & Sons, 2004, p. 70
During his early years in Paris, Pène du Bois made his artistic debut at the Paris Salon in 1905, painting various works which demonstrated a considerably auspicious artist. One of his early oils from 1905, Untitled (Woman in Parlor), depicts a parlor scene with a seated woman and her dog. This piece subtly references the opulence and elegance of the woman as she is seated on extravagant furniture with luxurious decor. The dog seated on the lap of the woman was typical of the time period; throughout Western art history, the presence of dogs is typically viewed as a status symbol. Dogs were cherished as part of the family and were regarded highly by the upper classes, who used them for hunting and could afford to feed them. Pène du Bois’ addition of the dog further satirizes the trivialities of upper class living.

When Pène du Bois typically painted his subjects, they would come alive as individuals: Models were essential to Pène du Bois’ art-making, particularly female models. He wrote about them, appreciated them, could describe in words and in paint or ink, their bodies as well as their personalities. However, in this work, the woman’s face and body are far more figurative than individualistic, suggesting that the subject is to be regarded as the “common” wealthy woman: she is a broad representation of her gender and class. The pink tones throughout the piece allude to japonisme, the influence of Japanese aesthetics and culture in the West during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Likewise, pink directly references the French Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist movements, noted by Théo van Rysselberghe to Claude Monet's lilies and Edgar Degas' dancers
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