LAMA BLOG

Don Bachardy: Legendary Portraits

February 3, 2016

The portrait artist Don Bachardy (born 1934) is widely and deeply admired for his sensitive and insightful depictions of the famous, most particularly members of the creative classes. In the course of his career, Bachardy has sketched and painted the likenesses of hundreds of the past half-century’s most celebrated and respected actors, artists, writers, poets, musicians, dancers, and other performers.

139-1Lot 139, Don Bachardy, Portrait of James Bridges

Lot 139, Don Bachardy, Portrait of James Bridges (1966)
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Raised in Los Angeles, he studied at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles from 1956 to 1959, and the Slade School of Art in London in 1961. His work can be found in numerous public collections, including those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Smithsonian Institute, the National Portrait Gallery in London, and the de Young Museum of Art in San Francisco.

February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction featuring Frank Lloyd Wright’s George D. Sturges Residence and property from The Estate of Jack Larson to benefit The Bridges/Larson Foundation, as well as a Richard Prince painting.

Lot 140, Don Bachardy, Portrait of Jack Larson (1966)
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

He has often cited two chief influences on his artistic career. The first is his long and celebrated relationship with the British-born writer Christopher Isherwood. They became a couple when Bachardy was 19 years old and Isherwood 49, and their nurturing, mutually encouraging, and loving life together has become legendary.

Lot 141, Don Bachardy, Portrait of James Bridges (1966)

Lot 141, Don Bachardy, Portrait of James Bridges (1966)
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

The second is cinema. Bachardy’s first motive for drawing was a love of movies–he spent hours sketching photos of male stars. Even today he describes his artistic method in cinematic terms. “The making of each of my pictures is similar to an unedited dance number from a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie,” Barchardy wrote in the introduction to his 2014 monograph, Hollywood: Don Bachardy. “I am, like Astaire, in the thrall of my partner, my intense inspection the equivalent of Astaire’s infatuation with Rogers, whom he courts and yearns to make his own. My courting of my sitter is as dedicated and persistent, but my objective is to record rather than seduce, to possess by imitation rather than persuasion.”

LAMA’s February 21, 2016 auction will include three lots of Bachardy’s portraits of Jack Larson and James Bridges.

Bachardy, Don, and Tom Ford. Hollywood: Don Bachardy. New York: Glitterati, 2014. Print. Drohojowska-Philp, Hunter. Rebels In Paradise: The Los Angeles Art Scene and the 1960s. New York: John Macrae Book/Henry Holt, 2011. Print.

Lot Information:

Lot 139
SOLD TO BENEFIT THE BRIDGES/LARSON FOUNDATION
Don Bachardy
Portrait of James Bridges (2)
1966
Oil on paper; ink wash and graphite on paper
Each signed
Oil: 29″ x 23″; Ink wash on paper, sheet (vis.): 29.5″ x 21.5″; Frame: 31″ x 23″
Together with ink wash on paper of Frank Palice (1994) and two books
Provenance: Jack Larson and James Bridges, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the artist)
Estimate: $2,000 – $3,000

Lot 140
SOLD TO BENEFIT THE BRIDGES/LARSON FOUNDATION
Don Bachardy
Portrait of Jack Larson (3)
1966
Pencil on paper; ink on paper
Each signed
Sheet (vis.) 28.25″ x 21″; Frame: 29.74″ x 22.5″; Sheet (vis.): 29.5″ x 21.5″; Frame: 31″ x 23″; Sheet: 24″ x 19″
Together with two books
Provenance: Jack Larson and James Bridges, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the artist)
Estimate: $1,500 – $2,000

Lot 141
SOLD TO BENEFIT THE BRIDGES/LARSON FOUNDATION
Don Bachardy
Portrait of James Bridges
c. 1966
Ink on paper
Signed in ink lower left
Sheet (vis.): 28″ x 21″; Frame: 29.5″ x 22.625″
Together with two books
Provenance: Jack Larson and James Bridges, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the artist)
Estimate: $1,200 – $1,500

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