During the first years of this century, Pène du Bois worked as a monitor in Robert Henri’s class at the Art Students League, but he never adopted the Ash Can subject matter favored by the Henri-circle artists. Instead, Pène du Bois painted the affluent society at play—at the opera, the race track, in chic night clubs, or simply walking down Fifth Avenue. His highly stylized paintings depict vignettes of manners, what he called “symbols of sophistication.” Pène du Bois made his artistic debut at the Paris Salon in 1905, but returned to New York the following year to work as a reporter for the New York American. A writer on art as well as a painter, Pène du Bois edited the issue of Arts and Decoration devoted to the 1913 Armory Show and served intermittently as editor of the magazine for the following seven years. In 1924 he moved to a small town outside Paris to concentrate on painting, but on his return to the United States in 1930 was again occupied with writing and soon published monographs on John Sloan, William Glackens, Edward Hopper, and Ernest Lawson.
Virginia M. Mecklenburg Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1987)