Peggy Bacon was born in Ridgefield, Connecticut. She studied at the Art Students League with John Sloan, Kenneth Hayes Miller, and George Bellows. Just as these realist artists, Bacon painted aspects of ordinary life, but she treated these subjects with a touch of humor and in a more modern style. In Varied Wares, Bacon exaggerates the man's craning neck to suggest her amusement at how intently he studies the vegetable stand. The vendor behind the stand seems to study his customer with the same wary curiosity. Bacon used her favorite print technique of drypoint engraving to produce Varied Wares, drawing the image on a copper plate with a sharp needle.
Bacon created paintings and prints, and wrote poetry and novels. She is known to many as the illustrator of more than 64 children's books, including The Lionhearted Kitten (1927). Her satirical sketches of the New York art world in the 1920s and 1930s also won her fame. Many of these drawings appeared in The New Yorker and Town and Country magazines.
Bacon's prints are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Brooklyn Museum.
[This is an excerpt from the interactive companion program to the videodisc American Art from the National Gallery of Art. Produced by the Department of Education Resources, this teaching resource is one of the Gallery's free-loan educational programs.]
Tarbell, Roberta K. and Janet A. Flint. Peggy Bacon, Personalities and Places. Washington, D.C., 1975.