Guy Pène Du Bois 
(American, 1884 - 1981)
In this iconic Pène du Bois painting, two sophisticated women strut through Central Park, eliciting gossip and sideways glances from idle onlookers. The artist had a knack for capturing subtle moments such as this one with acute clarity, generously inviting viewers into the midcentury aesthetic he so well interpreted. This painting was exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, in the 1948 Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting. 
Attention, 1948, Oil on canvas
20 H. x 30 W. inches. Signed LR: Guy Péne du Bois

Verso Bears: 1948 Whitney Museum Annual Exhibition of
Contemporary American Painting label
1948 Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting., 
November 13 through January 2, 1949 at Whitney Museum of American Art. 
Checklist no. 37.

Guy Pène du Bois was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1884, descended from French Creole immigrants who had settled in Louisiana in 1738. He first studied with William Merritt Chase at the New York School of Art, later continuing his training with Robert Henri. Pène du Bois was greatly impressed with Henri's credo that "real life" was subject matter for art, and throughout his life a realist philosophy informed his art as well as his parallel career, art criticism. In 1905, Pène du Bois made his first visit to Paris where he painted scenes of fashionable people in cafes rendered in the dark tonalities and impasto associated with the Ashcan School. By 1920, he had achieved his mature style, which was characterized by stylized, rounded, almost sculptural figures painted with invisible brushstrokes. The subjects of his paintings were often members of society whom he gently satirized.

In 1924, Pène du Bois and his wife, Floy, left for France where they would remain until 1930. Returning to America, the artist showcased pictures he had produced after this very productive period abroad. After five years of living in France, Pène du Bois was able to observe American life with fresh eyes. His work becomes more psychologically intense and less satirical.

Pène du Bois was very close with Edward Hopper and was the best man at his wedding in 1924. A lesser known aspect of Pène du Bois's career is his involvement with the WPA projects. In 1937 Pène du Bois received a WPA mural commission to depict John Jay at His Home for the post office in Rye, N.Y.

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Brooklyn Museum, New York
The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.
Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio
Dallas Museum of Art, Texas
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Arkansas
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