Painted by his good friend and fishing companion Waldo Peirce, this likeness of Hemingway does not quite look like him, but that may have been intentional. Picking up on a critic's observation that Hemingway resembled nineteenth-century French writer Honoré de Balzac, Peirce seems to have used the Balzac image seen here as a reference point for the painting. The result was a portrait in which Hemingway appeared to be a trimmed-down version of the French writer. Doubtless Hemingway enjoyed the masquerade. Fiercely competitive, he constantly measured himself against other writers, and even if it was mainly a jest, the identification with Balzac may have had a serious ego-boosting edge to it.
Hemingway as "Kid Balzac"
Waldo Peirce (1884-1970)/ Oil on canvas, 1929
Image courtesy Ernest Hemingway Collection, John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts