Stars in My Eyes

Don Bachardy, Author University of Wisconsin Press $19.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-299-16730-1
Like Richard Avedon's noted portrait photographs, Bachardy's pencil and ink wash drawings (from early in his career) and his later pen and brush, and then just brush, paintings distill the essence of a sitter with a startlingly blunt honesty that is often not very flattering. Bachardy, whose work hangs in such museums as the Metropolitan in New York and London's National Portrait Gallery, has assembled portraits of 33 noted personalities in the arts--including Maggie Smith, Laurence Olivier, Linda Ronstadt, Ellsworth Kelly, James Merrill, Iris Murdoch, Ruby Keeler--along with his diary entries about the sittings, which occurred between 1973 and 1984. As striking as his drawings are, his perceptive and informative journal entries are what make this collection so vital. Candid, often witty and decidedly opinionated, he spares no details about how difficult some of his subjects have been (""I will have approval of what you do today, won't I?"" inquires a diffident Alice Faye). Speaking frequently of his own life (he was novelist Christopher Isherwood's lover for 33 years, beginning when Bachardy was 18 and the writer was 48), Bachardy provides a unique view of his creative process. He is at his most revealing, however, when he describes the complex interplay between subject and artist. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/11/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-299-16734-9
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