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Unseen Hands: Women Printers, Binders and Book Designers    
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Peggy Bacon
American, 1895-1987

A prolific artist and author of children's books, Bacon was also known for her satirical and sometimes devastating sketches of figures in the New York art world of the 1920s and 1930s. In Off With Their Heads! Bacon provided both visual and verbal caricatures, not omitting to skewer herself. Her notes, which accompany the self portrait shown here, read: “Pin-head, parsimoniously covered with thin dark hair . . . prominent nose, chipmunk teeth and no chin . . . . Personality lifeless, retiring, snippy, quietly egotistical.”

Bacon’s witty self-portrait, Lady Artist, includes a cat who seems as oblivious of the mouse as Bacon is of all the women peering at her from the windows opposite her studio. Perhaps the viewers are considering the ironic juxtaposition of Bacon herself -- with her hair in a bun, and wearing glasses, a demure white collar, and saddle shoes -- and the voluptuous female nude pinned to her drawing board.

Peggy Bacon: Lady Artist

Lady Artist, 1925
Graphic Arts Division, Elmer Adler Collection of American Artist's Portraits

Peggy Bacon: Off With Their Heads!

Off With Their Heads!
Self Portrait of Peggy Bacon
New York: Robert M. McBride, 1934.
Graphic Arts Division, Gift of Frank Jewett Mather Jr.


Princeton University Library, Graphic Arts Collection
Rebecca W. Davidson, Curator of Graphic Arts
Tel: (609) 258-3197
Last Modified: February 25, 2004