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.