This 1932 pastel self-portrait of Peggy Bacon (1895-1987) hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
"Peggy Bacon began her career as a painter but found early success with her satirical prints and drawings of friends and associates. Her work for magazines such as the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Fortune expanded from illustration to satirical caricature after the publication of her 1934 book, Off with Their Heads. In this book of caricatures, she describes herself as follows:This photo by Peter A. Juley, from the Smithsonian, gives us a more flattering look at Peggy Bacon.
'Pin headed, parsimoniously covered with thin dark hair, on a short, dumpy body. Small features, prominent nose, chipmunk teeth and no chin, conveying the sharp weak look of a little rodent.'
This pastel self-portrait demonstrates Bacon's unforgiving eye particularly through the cartoonish line of her head in profile. It also shows how biting Bacon's caricature could be, applying to not only other prominent art-figures of the 1930s, but also herself." -- National Portrait Gallery
|By Smithsonian Institution from United States - Peggy Bacon, American painter, illustrator and printmaker, 1895-1987, No restrictions, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7406732|
Her self-assessment in Off With Their Heads is accompanied by this self-portrait.
Peggy BaconPin-head, parsimoniously covered with thin dark hair, on a short, dumpy body. Small features, prominent nose, chipmunk teeth and no chin, conveying the sharp, weak look of a little rodent. Absent-minded eyes with a half-glimmer of observation. Prim, critical mouth and faint coloring. Personality lifeless, retiring, snippy, quietly egotistical. Lacks vigor and sparkle.
And this picture of the author hiding under the table can be found on the title page.
The New York Times reviewed Off With Their Heads in a 1934 article entitled “Portraits in Acid.” Bacon's caricatures appeared in a 1934 exhibition at the Art League of Washington. Adelaide Kerr described Bacon after her caricature phase in an 1943 article entitled Peggy Bacon Dips Her Brush In Laughter: “Peggy Bacon is an attractive woman. Her creamy skin is smooth and unlined as a girl's, her hair is brown, her eyes grey. She has a gusty sense of humor and a lively ringing laugh.”
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