University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Don Bachardy:

An Inventory of His Collection in the Art Collection at the Harry Ransom Center



Creator: Bachardy, Don, 1934-
Title: Don Bachardy Art Collection
Dates: 1962-1974, undated
Abstract: The Don Bachardy Art Collection comprises eleven original portrait drawings by Don Bachardy. Most are of well-known figures and acquaintances, as rendered in ink, conté crayon, pastel, or charcoal.
Extent: 2 flat file drawers (11 items)
Language: English
Repository: The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center

Biographical Sketch

The portraitist and painter Don Bachardy was born May 18, 1934, in Hollywood, California, to Jess and Glade Bachardy. Jess Bachardy was an airplane tool planner at Lockheed Corporation, and Don grew up in a middle-class neighborhood. In early childhood he started drawing, and his subjects were always people. As a pre-adolescent, he developed an interest in the movies to which his mother took him and his older brother Ted, often to the disapproval of their father. Bachardy considers his early love of movies a major influence, as he became interested in looking at people from gazing at close-ups of movie actors on the large screens. From an early age he drew from photographs of actors.

After high school Bachardy enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles, but found that he hated it. He left UCLA and enrolled at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, and later studied for one year at the Slade Art School in London. In 1961 he had his first one-man exhibition at the Redfern Gallery in London.

During his freshman year at UCLA, Bachardy was introduced to Christopher Isherwood. In 1953 Bachardy moved into Isherwood's ocean-view home in Santa Monica, where they lived together as lovers until Isherwood's death in 1986.

During his career as a portrait artist, Bachardy has done portraits of many well-known figures and celebrities, including many of the movie stars he watched as a youth. He has also drawn many members of the literary circle of Isherwood and W. H. Auden. In 1984 Bachardy received much publicity (and touched off a controversy) when he used an expressionist style with bold colors for the official portrait of Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr., to be hung in the California State Capitol Building.

In 1968 Bachardy co-wrote with Isherwood the Broadway play A Meeting by the River. Bachardy has also published collections of his portraits, including Stars in My Eyes (1999) in which he describes his methods and tells of his experiences of the thirty-three celebrities included.


Scope and Contents

The Don Bachardy Art Collection comprises eleven original portrait drawings by Don Bachardy. Most are of well-known figures and acquaintances, as rendered in ink, conté crayon, pastel, or charcoal. The works are listed alphabetically by portrait subject in the following Item List. Titles are transcribed from the items, and cataloger's titles appear in brackets.

The portraits of Yannis Boras, E. M. Forster, Chester Kallman, Elizabeth Mayer, and Igor Stravinsky are from the collection of Chester Kallman and W. H. Auden.


Restrictions

Access:

Open for research. A minimum of twenty-four hours is required to pull art materials to the Reading Room.


Related Material

Additional biographical material on Don Bachardy is found in magazine and newspaper clippings in the Art Collection's vertical file.


Administrative Information

Acquisition:

Purchases (R6488, R6853) 1975, and Gift (G11450), 1997

Processed by:

Helen Young, 2003


Sources:

Markel, Michelle. "Portrait Will Have California Touch."Los Angeles Times, 28 July 1983.

White, James. "On Don Bachardy." http://www.americanartists.org/art/article_on_don_bachardy.htm (accessed October 14, 2003).


Item List

Location
Flat file W. H. Auden [half-length portrait, seated, holding cigarette]. 1962.
1 drawing: ink, 73.6 x 58.2 cm.
 
Location
Flat file [Yannis Boras, head-and-shoulders portrait, profile, facing wine bottle and glass]. 1966.
1 drawing: conté crayon, 29.6 x 21 cm.
 
Location
Flat file [E. M. Forster, three-quarter length portrait, seated]. Undated.
1 drawing: conté crayon and ink wash, 76.3 x 55.7 cm., in mat 101.7 x 81.1 cm.
 
Location
Flat file Lillian Hellman [half-length portrait]. 1974.
1 drawing: conté crayon and pastel, 94.1 x 58.8 cm., in mat 101.7 x 81.1 cm.
 
Location
Flat file Christopher Isherwood [three-quarter length portrait, three-quarters view]. 1969.
1 drawing: ink wash, 44.6 x 31 cm., in mat 58.5 x 49.4 cm.
 
Location
Flat file [Chester Kallman, half-length portrait, three-quarters view, seated]. Undated.
1 drawing: ink, 73.5 x 58.6 cm.
 
Location
Flat file Elizabeth Mayer [half-length portrait, seated]. 1962.
1 drawing: ink, 71.2 x 55.4 cm., in mat 101.7 x 81.1 cm.
 
Location
Flat file Anaïs Nin [three-quarter length portrait, seated]. 1965.
1 drawing: conté crayon and ink wash, 77 x 56.4 cm.
 
Location
Flat file [Mary Jennifer Selznick, daughter of David Selznick and Jennifer Jones, half-length portrait, seated]. Undated.
1 drawing: charcoal and gouache, 74.1 x 58.5 cm., in mat 86.5 x 71.1 cm.
 
Location
Flat file [Igor Stravinsky, reclining, reading book, next to melon]. Undated.
1 drawing: conté crayon, 44.5 x 64.3 cm., in mat 71 x 92 cm.
 
Location
Flat file Tennessee Williams [half-length portrait, seated, holding glass]. 1962.
1 drawing: ink, 73.6 x 55.3 cm., in mat 101.5 x 81.1 cm.