Norton Simon

Don Bachardy (American, 1934-)
May 28, 1973
Pencil and ink wash on paper 
sheet: 29-1/8 x 23-1/8 in. (74 x 58.7 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
© Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Not on View

This portrait of museum founder Norton Simon was made by Los Angeles-based artist Don Bachardy, best known for probing portrayals of actors and artists that he completes in a single sitting. The commission for this drawing came about through Mr. Simon’s wife, Jennifer Jones, a long-time friend of Bachardy and his partner Christopher Isherwood. As the artist recalled many years later, Jones agreed to sit for Bachardy on the condition that he depict her husband as well. Mr. Simon dutifully posed for two drawings on May 28, 1973, which he signed and dated himself, as was Bachardy’s custom. After the sittings, however, Ms. Jones “laughingly reneged” on her agreement, and she never did acquiesce to pose for Bachardy herself. The drawings of Simon chronicle the first and only time that the famed collector sat for a portrait, and they depict their subject as watchful but relaxed, offering some sense of the interest and attention that he directed to works of art.

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