The Confidence Man
Guy Pène du Bois
On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, Beyond Borders and Boundaries, 20th and 21st Centuries
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.
Oil on plywood panel
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)
signed lower right: "Guy Pene duBois / 19"
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."
Gift of Chester Dale
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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)
overall, 63.148.3_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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