The portrait artist Don Bachardy is 80 today.
Donald Jess Bachardy was born on May 18th 1934 in Los Angeles. In February of 1953, he met the British writer Christopher Isherwood, 30 years his senior, and they began a relationship that would last 33 years right up to the writer’s death in 1986.
He studied at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles and the Slade School of Art in London, where he had his first solo exhibition, at the Redfern Gallery, in October 1961.
He has since exhibited in solo shows across North America and his work is in the permanent collections of Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the MH de Young Museum of Art in California and the National Portrait Gallery in London.
He still lives in Santa Monica, California in the house that he and Christopher Isherwood moved into over 50 years ago and has a studio there where he continues to draw and paint most days.
In September 2013, he travelled to Berlin for the first time and visited the apartment at Nollendorfstrasse 17, where Christopher Isherwood lived and wrote about during his time in Berlin, in the closing years of the Weimar Republic.
Don at Christopher’s window, Nollendorfstraße 17, September 2013 (pic: Brendan Nash)
Exterior of Nollendorfstraße 17, September 2013 (Pic: Brendan Nash)
Don Bachardy and Brendan Nash, Soho Theatre London, September 2013 (Pic: Katrina Buchanan)