Waldo Peirce was known for his paintings of his children, a subject he depicted numerous times when he settled in Bangor, Maine with his third wife after years of travel in Europe where he led a fun-filled adventurous life. His style was loose and imperfect but full of the spirit of what he was painting, which in his early career was often landscapes.
He was born the son of a wealthy lumberman in Bangor, Maine and studied at Harvard University where he was known much more for his personality and football playing skills than for his scholastic ability.
In 1910, he decided to go to Europe, but after boarding the ship in Boston, changed his mind, jumped overboard and swam ashore. However, shortly after that, he left for England and then went to the Academie Julian in Paris, and lived partying life around Europe. He engaged in many pastimes including canoe racing on the Thames in England and football on a French team in Ireland. During World War I, he served as an ambulance driver and earned the Croix de Guerre for bravery.
After the War, he toured in Spain with writer Ernest Hemingway and painted in the styles of Spanish artist Ignacio Zuloaga and French modernist Henri Matisse.
Peirce's papers are at Colby College in Maine.