The American portrait artist who catches emotions in colorful faces

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Portrait of Anette Levine

Donald Jess Bachardy, an American portrait artist, was born on this day, May 18, in 1934 in Los Angeles. He 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 has since had one-man exhibitions at galleries in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston and New York. His works reside in the permanent collections of numerous museums in the United States and Europe. Seven books of his portraits have been published. His book Stars in My Eyes (2000), about celebrated people whom he had painted, became a number one best-seller in Los Angeles.

Portrait of Rob Kelly

His recent exhibitions were at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, in 2004–2005. 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. One of Bachardy’s most notable works is the official gubernatorial portrait of Jerry Brown that hangs in the California State Capitol Museum.

Portrait of Barbara Roisman

Bachardy resides in Santa Monica, California. Bachardy was the partner of writer Christopher Isherwood for over 30 years. He met Christopher on Valentine’s Day 1953, when he was 18 and Isherwood was 48. They remained together until Isherwood’s death in 1986. 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.

Don Bachardy

 

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