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Don Bachardy's Portraits of Women on Exhibit at Santa Monica College Gallery


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By Lookout Staff

October 30, 2017 -- Artist Don Bachardy has produced thousands of portraits mostly painted during single sittings in the Santa Monica home he once shared with his life partner, the famous British writer Christopher Isherwood.

A broad selection of portraits of women Bachardy drew from life between 1962 and 2017 will be on display starting Tuesday at the Pete & Susan Barrett Art Gallery on the Santa Monica College Madison campus, 1310 11th Street.

Bachardy Portrait of a Woman

An opening reception will be held Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m., and Bachardy, who is 83, will give a talk at the gallery on Saturday, November 18 at 3 p.m.

"The Women, 50 Years of Portraits,” which will be on display through December 2, "explores Bachardy’s evolution as a portrait artist demonstrating his expertise as a master in drawing," the exhibit's organizers said.

Bachardy, who played an important role in "defining Southern California as a center of artistic expression," painted portraits of major creative, cultural and political figures, organizers said. Bachardy has his subjects sign the portraits.

Among his most notable works is the official portrait of California Governor Jerry Brown that hangs in the California State Capitol.

Bachardy, who was a student at Chouinard Art Institute, met Isherwood when he was 18 and began drawing and painting portraits of the author.

Isherwood, a prodigious diary writer whose “Berlin Stories” served as source material for the Oscar-winning movie “Cabaret,” introduced his young partner to artists, writers and filmmakers.

The two would remain together for 33 years, until Isherwood's death in 1986.

Bachardy -- whose works are in permanent collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Smithsonian Institution and the National Portrait Gallery in London -- described his approach to portrait painting in a 2015 Los Angeles Times interview.

“My favorite part of any portrait is always the mouth,” Bachardy said. “Of course, eyes are more telling than anything else, but the mouth is where the personality of a person most expresses itself.”

Eight books of Bachardy’s work have been published and his life and work has been documented in Terry Sanders' film "The Eyes of Don Bachardy."

Bachardy's account of the celebrities whose portraits he painted is the subject of his bestselling book "Stars in My Eyes" published in 2000.

For more information, call (310) 434-3434.


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