Hallway, Italian Restaurant was one of the most popular works that Guy Pène du Bois painted prior to his departure for France in 1924. It was often reproduced during his lifetime, and he included illustrations of it in a contemporary article and later in his autobiography. Inspired by the realism of The Eight, Pène du Bois often represented people in a commonplace restaurant or café setting. Like his contemporary
Guy Pène du Bois painted Hallway, Italian Restaurant in 1922, approximately one year after he had bought a house and studio in Westport, Connecticut, where, far from the social and professional distractions of New York, he had hoped to spend his summers concentrating on painting. Despite his good intentions, the early 1920s was generally a fallow period in the artist's career during which Pène du Bois found his creativity—whether he was residing in New York or Westport—stymied by incessant partying.
Betsy Fahlman, Guy Pène du Bois: Artist About Town (Washington, DC, 1980), 198.
Guy Pène du Bois, "Guy Pène du Bois," International Studio 75 (June 1922): 245, and Guy Pène du Bois, Artists Say the Silliest Things (New York, 1940), 273. It was also reproduced in Royal Cortissoz, Guy Pene du Bois (New York, 1931), 42; and Edward Alden Jewell, "My Choice of Contemporary American Painting," Studio 107 (Mar. 1932): 118.
The subject is a couple who stand facing each other in a hallway. A New York Times critic characterized the figures as “youth at last without much of the beauty of the dawn, but youth none the less.”
“The World of Art: That of South and North America, Including Canada,” New York Times Book Review and Magazine, Apr. 16, 1922, 20.
Although nothing in the composition particularly suggests an Italian restaurant setting, an early critic wrote that the scene "fairly smells of Italian cooking. A man and woman enter silhouetted against pink wall paper; they are sixth rate urbanites preferring a succulent meal enlivened by a florid orchestra—vulgar but harmless seems to be their label."
Catherine Beach Ely, The Modern Tendency in American Painting (New York, 1925), 75.
August 17, 2018
lower left: Guy Pène du Bois / 22
The artist; (Kraushaar Galleries, New York); sold 26 February 1923 to Chester Dale [1888-1962], New York; bequest 1963 to NGA.
- A Collection of Paintings by Modern Masters of American and European Art, C.W. Kraushaar Art Galleries, New York, 1922, no. 12.
- Paintings by Guy Pène du Bois, C.W. Kraushaar Art Galleries, New York, April 1922, no. 5.
- Paintings by Guy Pène du Bois from 1908 to 1938, C.W. Kraushaar Art Galleries, New York, 1938, no. 15.
- The Chester Dale Bequest, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1965, unnumbered checklist.
The medium-weight fabric support was originally lined and then later infused with a wax-resin adhesive. The tacking margins were removed, and the support was mounted on a nonoriginal stretcher. Cusping is present only on the right side. Oil paint was applied with strong brushwork and low impasto, both wet into wet and wet over dry, covering an earlier composition. It is apparent that there was formerly a problem with insecure and flaking paint between the original painting and the present one, and some retouching is present. The surface was coated with a relatively clear layer of varnish.
- Pène du Bois, Guy. "Guy Pène du Bois." International Studio 75 (June 1922): 245, repro.
- Ely, Catherine Beach. The Modern Tendency in American Painting. New York, 1925: 75, repro.
- Cortissoz, Royal. Guy Pène du Bois. New York, 1931: 42, repro.
- Jewell, Edward Alden. "My Choice of Contemporary American Painting." Studio 107 (March 1932): 118, repro.
- Pène du Bois, Guy. Artists Say the Silliest Things. New York, 1940: 273, repro.
- Paintings other than French in the Chester Dale Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 55, repro.
- American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 50, repro.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 145, repro.
- Williams, William James. A Heritage of American Paintings from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1981: 214, repro. 215.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 258, repro.
- Fahlman, Betsy. Guy Pène du Bois: Painter of Modern Life. New York, 2004: 23-24.
- Brock, Charles. “George Bellows: An Unfinished Life.” In George Bellows, edited by Charles Brock. Exh. cat. Royal Academy of Arts, London; National Gallery of Art, Washington; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2012-2013. Munich, 2012: 24-25, color fig. 15.