By JOHN HARLOW | Editor-in-Chief
Don Bachardy, a world-famed portraitist who has lived and worked quietly behind Entrada for decades, has a new show at Santa Monica College’s Pete & Susan Barrett Art Gallery.
Called “Don Bachardy: The Women, 50 Years of Portraits,” the work is culled from an impressive array of ink and pencil portraits created in the Santa Monica Canyon studio that he has called home since 1962.
Some were created earlier this year—at 83, Bachardy is as busy as ever.
He is famed for portraying charismatic men, from the official portrait of Governor Jerry Brown (the second time around) to Fred Astaire, Jack Nicholson and Robert Downey Jr.
But this show focuses on the equally powerful women captured over four decades, from his mother, Glade, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl to Palisadian Nancy Smith.
They all have to be tough: He likes to complete a portrait “live” in one session that can run eight hours or more. And the results are not always flattering.
“My favorite part of any portrait is always the mouth,” Bachardy told the Los Angeles Times in 2015. “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 works are documented in Terry Sanders’ film “The Eyes of Don Bachardy” (2006) and the 2008 documentary “Chris & Don: A Love Story,” which chronicles his life with British writer Christopher Isherwood, author of the novel that would become “Cabaret.” They famously met on Will Rogers State Beach.
Bachardy is also the author of the bestselling “Stars in My Eyes” (2000) about the celebrities whose portraits he has created.
Bachardy’s works are in permanent collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum of Art in San Francisco, the Henry E. Huntington Library in San Marino, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Portrait Gallery in London, several universities, and numerous other public and private collections.
The show runs at the Pico college campus until Sunday, Dec. 2.
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