Joan Crawford, 9 February 74

About Don Bachardy

Against the tides of Abstract Expressionism in the 1950s, Don Bachardy began his lifelong foray into portraiture. Bachardy’s portraits are completed while his subject sits for him, subjects who range from Hollywood celebrities to anonymous individuals to Los Angeles artists such as Chris Burden and DeWain Valentine. His works possess a kinetic looseness and a keen eye toward the emotional state of his subjects. “[People have] never seen what they look like when they’ve been sitting still for three hours,” Bachardy once said. “Something deep comes out, something very different and shocking.” Bachardy’s unflinching candor is exemplified in his portraits documenting the final six months of the life of writer Christopher Isherwood, his partner for more than 30 years. The artist’s quick sketches reveal suffering and pain, but also deep compassion.

American , b. 1934, Los Angeles, California