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Peggy Bacon
Birth Date: 
Birth Place: 
Ridgefield, CT
Death Date: 
Born May 2, 1895 in Ridgefield, CT; daughter of miniaturist Elizabeth Chase and landscape painter Charles Roswell Bacon; showed precocious talent, began drawing at an early age; was illustrating and writing books by ten years-old; 1913 decided to study art; 1914-1915 at New York School of Fine and Applied Arts and also studied with Jonas Lie; 1915-1920 studied at Art Students League with Andrew Dasburg, Kenneth Hayes Miller, George Bellows and John Sloan; heavily influenced by Sloan; 1915 first one-person show arranged by Jonas Lie; wrote first book The True Philosopher and Other Cat Tales; 1916 studied painting with B.J.O. Nordfeldt during summer; 1917 taught herself drypoint; 1918 met future husband, painter Alexander Brook, in lunchroom of Arts Students League; first book, The True Philosopher and Other Cat Tales, including thirteen of her early drypoints, published; drypoints exhibited at Society of Independent Artists; 1920 married Alexander Brook; lived in London; daughter Belinda born; 1921 traveled to Paris, then lived in London; after return to United States lived near Woodstock, NY (she and husband would be active in Woodstock artist colony until mid 1920’s); 1922 first major drypoint exhibition at Joseph Brummer Gallery; son, Alexander Brook, Jr. born; monograph Peggy Bacon by William Murrell published; after 1923 lived in New York City, usually spending summers elsewhere; 1923-1929 wrote and illustrated children’s books; several one-person shows, including 1928 exhibit at Alfred Stieglitz’s The Intimate Gallery; 1924 print and plate for The Promenade Deck purchased by New Republic magazine and issued in Portfolio Six American Etchers, which also included Edward Hopper’s Night Shadows as well as prints by Ernest Haskell, John Marin, Kenneth Hayes Miller and John Sloan. 1927 one of original twelve members of American Printmakers group; began satirical color pastel portraits (she had abandoned painting in 1921 and worked in black and white drawing and drypoint prior to 1927); 1928 first lithographs; 1929 first etchings (went on to make numerous prints in the 1930’s); 1927-1937 spent summers in Cross River, Westchester County, NY, except for 1931 when Brook received Guggenheim travel fellowship resulting in their summer travel to Europe; wrote and illustrated numerous books; frequent one-person shows; produced almost 100 pastels, including 35 caricatures; 1934 received Guggenheim fellowship and used funds to produce Off With Their Heads!, a set of 39 satirical black and white portraits with accompanying text, published by Robert M. McBride; 1935 after executing numerous commissioned caricatures, she abandoned this work, commenting afterward, “I couldn’t stand getting under people’s skins...”; 1937 began humorous pastel genre scenes; 1938 separated from Alexander Brook; 1940 divorced from Alexander Brook; 1942 major retrospective held by Associated American Artists; received grant from National Academy of Arts and Letters to further creative work; 1950-1970 output of prints diminished but wrote and illustrated six books, illustrated over twenty books written by others, wrote mystery novel, The Inward Eye, which was well received; 1952 began to work with water based mixed-media; 1956 elected to National Institute of Arts and Letters (elected vice-president 1960 and 1962); 1958 resumed oil painting; 1961 moved from New York City to Cape Porpoise, Maine; 1963 received certificate of merit from National Academy of Design; became almost blind but continued to paint; 1975 retrospective exhibit at National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian, Washington, DC; died 1987. Sources: 1. Peggy Bacon, Personalities and Places: Exhibition at the National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; December 5, 1975-February 8, 1976. Washington: National Collection of Fine Arts by the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1975. cms 10.31.97