Though not much is known about his early life, Guy Pene Du Bois was an expert at depicting the life around him. He would observe people and society in cafes, theatres and in particular loved to paint flappers. Flappers were the young, stylish 20th century women who moved around in high society. They wore short skirts, were popular in the jazz scene and generally went against what society thought was acceptable.
Pene started his art studies in 1899 in the New York School of Art under instruction from William Merrit Chase, a great art teacher of the day. In 1905, he travelled to Europe to study under Theodore Steinlen but he didn’t stay long his father dies the following year and he had to come back home.
In 1906, Guy Pen Du Bois got a job as a newspaper cartoonist with the New York American, and the following year he started to write an art critic column. In 1913, he started to write for the New York Post and became editor of The Arts and The Arts Weekly.
Not much is captured about him until 1940 when he published his autobiography, Artists Say The Silliest Things. He is best described by his friend Jerome Meyers in his autobiography, Artist In Manhattan.
“Guy was then the noted art critic and painter and even later, when he became the noted painter, he was still the art critic as well, coining his brief aphorisms with a dash of cosmopolitan cynicism, cool wisdom and dry humor. I regretted the intervention of his trips abroad but our intimate conversations were resumed whenever opportunity afforded, Guy remaining as ever my real spiritual comrade. He was always a wise friend, a wise teacher, the possessor of an individual and rare skill in painting, his life a notable one, his contacts illustrious. I envy him only all that his history entails in names and places, covering so much of our present art history.”