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Bachardy in 2004
|Born||Donald Jess Bachardy
May 18, 1934
Los Angeles, California
|Known for||Portrait artist|
Born in Los Angeles, California, Bachardy studied at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles and the Slade School of Art in London. His first one-man exhibition was held in October 1961 at the Redfern Gallery in London. He met the writer Christopher Isherwood on Valentine's Day 1953, when he was 18 and Isherwood was 48. They remained together until Isherwood's death in 1986. A number of paperback editions of Isherwood's novels feature Bachardy's pencil portraits of the author. A film about their relationship, titled Chris & Don: A Love Story, was released in 2008.
His works reside in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum of Art in San Francisco, the University of Texas, Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, California, the University of California, Los Angeles, the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University, Princeton University, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Portrait Gallery, London.
Six books of his work have been published. His life and works are also documented in Terry Sanders' film The Eyes of Don Bachardy. He collaborated with Isherwood on Frankenstein: The True Story (1973). His book Stars in My Eyes (2000), about celebrated people whom he had painted, became a number one best-seller in Los Angeles. Bachardy's most haunting and eloquent published collection, "Last Drawings of Christopher Isherwood" in 1990 contains the dying and deceased Isherwood for the last time in his eyes.
Most recently, Bachardy made a cameo appearance in the movie A Single Man (starring Colin Firth) based on Isherwood's book of the same name—he portrays a professor in the teacher's lounge, to whom Firth says "Hello. Don." Bachardy told Angeleno Magazine in their December 2009 issue: "Chris got the idea for that book when he and I were having a domestic crisis. We'd been together 10 years. I was making a lot of trouble and wondering if I shouldn't be on my own. Chris was going through a very difficult period (as well). So he killed off my character, Jim, in the book and imagined what his life would be like without me."
Bachardy still lives in his and Isherwood's Santa Monica home (his place of residence for over 50 years), where he paints portraits for gallery shows and on a commission basis. In January 2010 he showed a retrospective of self-portraits (from 1959–2009) at Craig Krull Gallery in Santa Monica. In Fall of 2011, Bachardy exhibited portraits made over the last 40 years depicting artists from Southern California, including Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, Billy Al Bengston, Robert Irwin, Ed Moses, and Ed Ruscha at Craig Krull Gallery in conjunction with the Getty initiative Pacific Standard Time. All 33 paintings were purchased by a New York collector on the board of the Whitney Museum.
- Frankenstein: The True Story. 1973 (with Christopher Isherwood)
- October / O. Methuen, London 1983 (with Christopher Isherwood), ISBN 0-413-50040-3
- One Hundred Drawings. Twelvetrees Press, Los Angeles 1983
- 70 x 1 Drawings. Illuminati, 1983
- Drawings of the male nude. Twelvetrees Press, Pasadena 1985, ISBN 0-942642-18-X
- Christopher Isherwood: Last drawings. Faber and Faber, London/Boston 1990, ISBN 0-571-14075-0 (mit John Russell, Stephen Spender)
- Short cuts: the screenplay. Capra Press, Santa Barbara 1993 (with Robert Altmann, Frank Barhydt), ISBN 0-88496-378-0
- The Portrait. Imprenta Glorias, 1997
- Stars In My Eyes. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison 2000, ISBN 0-299-16730-5
- The Animals: Love Letters Between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy, edited by Katherine Bucknell. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York 2014. ISBN 9780374105174
- Peter Parker, Isherwood: A Life (2004).
- Daniel Curzon, Remembering Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy. In: Harrington Gay Men's Fiction Quarterly, Volume 6 (2004), Issue 1.
- Chris & Don: A Love Story (2008 film).
- Lee Prosser, Isherwood, Bowles, Vedanta, Wicca, and Me, (2001), ISBN 0-595-20284-5.
- Eric Gutierrez, "Tom Ford was right about Isherwood". The Times. February 5, 2010.
- Ann Harold (02-15-2010), "A Brush With Life", LAmag.com. Archived October 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- Thomas, Kevin. (2008-06-29) "Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy: a personal and artistic union". latimes.com. Retrieved on 2011-08-02.
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