Don Bachardy was born in Los Angeles in 1934. He studied at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles and the Slade School of Art in London. His first one-man exhibition was held in October 1961 at the Redfern Gallery in London. He has since had one-man exhibitions at galleries in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston and New York. Most recently, he had a one-man exhibition at Cheim & Read, New York in 2013, at Craig Krull Gallery, Los Angeles in 2011 and at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California in 2004-2005. His works reside in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the M.H. de Young Museum of Art in San Francisco, the University of Texas, Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, California, the University of California, Los Angeles, the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University, Princeton University, the California State Capitol Building (official portrait of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.), the Smithsonian Institute, and the National Portrait Gallery in London, England. Seven books of his portraits have been published: three by Twelvetrees Press (October (in collaboration with Christopher Isherwood), 1980, One Hundred Drawings, 1983 and Drawings of the Male Nude, 1985); a collection of seventy drawings of artists, 70 X 1, published by Illuminati, 1983; Last Drawings of Christopher Isherwood, published by Faber and Faber, 1990 (Great Britain), 1991 (U.S.A.); Short Cuts: The Screenplay with portraits by Don Bachardy, published by Capra Press, 1993; and Stars in My Eyes, published by the University of Wisconsin Press in November 2000.
In 1953, at the age of nineteen, Bachardy began a relationship with novelist, playwright, screenwriter, autobiographer and diarist Christopher Isherwood that lasted until Isherwood’s death in 1986. Bachardy resides in Santa Monica, California in a house that he and Isherwood moved into over fifty years ago, and continues to draw and paint most days in his studio there.
The Christopher Isherwood Foundation, which aims to preserve the creative legacy of Isherwood and Bachardy, was established to promote the enjoyment and study of their work and the unique way of life that enabled them to produce it.