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The Confidence Man

Guy Pène du Bois

American Art

Body Language

The bold, open pose of the woman in Evening indicates that she is actively encouraging her partner’s attention. In contrast, the confidence man, or con man, in the adjacent painting stands aggressively near his female companion. His almost threatening stance and her downcast face suggest that he is not to be trusted.

Despite the physical closeness of these two sets of figures, their faces are inscrutable and the nature of their interactions remains ambiguous. Guy Pène du Bois frequently painted stiff figures with masklike faces, suggesting social alienation beneath the glitter and gloss of the party scene.
MEDIUM Oil on plywood panel
DATES 1919
DIMENSIONS 20 x 15 in. (50.8 x 38.1 cm) Frame: 28 x 22 1/2 x 2 in. (71.1 x 57.2 x 5.1 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE signed lower right: "Guy Pene duBois / 19"
INSCRIPTIONS verso inscriptions, in pencil: "$500.00"; "The Confidence Man / by Guy Pene ..."; in crayon: "Bx - 49 - 1" Gummed label: "28151" Gummed label: "From the / Chester Dall Collection / 20 East 79th Street. / New York, N.Y."
CREDIT LINE Gift of Chester Dale
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Guy Pène du Bois (American, 1884–1958). The Confidence Man, 1919. Oil on plywood panel, 20 x 15 in. (50.8 x 38.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Chester Dale, 63.148.3 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 63.148.3_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 63.148.3_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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