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Christopher Isherwood 19041986
 
This drawing by California artist Don Bachardy is one of an extensive series of portraits depicting his companion, the British American writer Christopher Isherwood. Documenting their long relationship, the drawings are a moving testament to both artists and illuminate the collaborative nature of portraiture.

Isherwood became a naturalized United States citizen in 1946, and the same year the novels of his bohemian, pre-war youth were reissued as The Berlin Stories. His fame grew in 1952, with his play about music-hall performer Sally Bowles (better known through the movie version, Cabaret). Isherwood met Bachardy the following year. The forty-eight-year-old author, who famously described himself as "a camera with its shutter open," confirmed the eighteen-year-old Bachardy's own urge to record. He provided the younger man with financial and emotional support and became his most cooperative and convenient subject. Bachardy's carefully observed portraits could be merciless and unflattering, but his images of Isherwood are infused with an emotional warmth that speaks to the closeness of the relationship.

Don Bachardy (born 1934)
Ink wash and graphite on paper, 1976
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
gift of the Mildred Andrews Fund
Don Bachardy
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