Donald Baechler, ‘Cat’, 2016, Watermill Center Summer Benefit Auction 2016

Donald Baechler’s oeuvre exists between the obvious and the obscure, in which symbols of childhood nostalgia are brought to life in strong line and silhouette. Considered to be an art world prodigy, Baechler was an active member of the East Village art scene in 1980s alongside Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. Cat (2016) has the hallmarks of a classic Baechler piece: deadpan humor drawn with a confident hand. Baechler’s work can be found in the public collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Centre George Pompidou, Paris, and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.


Image rights: Courtesy of the artist and Cheim & Read, New York

About Donald Baechler

Donald Baechler, a member of the East Village art scene in 1980s New York, is known for his painting-collage-drawing works depicting of childhood imagery and nostalgic ephemera like grammar school primers, old maps, and children’s drawings, or purposely cliché motifs such as a skull, a rose, a globe, and a soccer ball. Although critics have suggested that Baechler’s work, reminiscent of Jean Dubuffet, is a critique of innocence and sincerity, Baechler sees himself as an abstract artist whose concerns are primarily formal, rooted in line, shape, color, and composition. A 2011 solo exhibition included bronze sculptures based on childlike silhouettes of flowers as well as numerous faux-naïf black-and-white flower paintings. Baechler is often associated with other East Village artists, including Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Kenny Scharf.

American, b. 1956, Hartford, Connecticut, based in New York City, NY, USA