History And Context
Blue Armchair, which was painted the summer of 1923 in Westport, Connecticut, where the artist lived during the Prohibition to escape an unruly New York. It is a portrait of Pène Du Bois’s mistress, Ella Neely McCoy, although she was once identified as the artist's daughter, Yvonne, who would have been 10 years old at the time the picture was painted.
Although he was a staunch supporter of representational painting, and a strong adversary of the avant-garde, Pène Du Bois carefully chose certain modernist elements. The saturated colors and cubist-influenced construction of space added strength and impact to his art at a time when the academic conventions seemed timid and confusing.