Donald Baechler 1956-2022


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Donald Baechler is a Contemporary artist known for his child-like paintings and sculptures. Baechler was born to Quaker parents in Hartford, Connecticut and was introduced to drawing at a young age. He attended the Maryland Institute of Art in 1974 and later studied at Cooper Union before continuing his artistic studies in Frankfurt, Germany. Upon his return to the United States, Baechler moved to New York, where he befriended gallerist Tony Shafrazi, a local gallerist representing powerful street artists as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf. Shafrazi also recruited Baechler, though the artist was interested in creating his own path despite the graffiti trend at the time. When interviewed about showing at Shafrazi's gallery, Baechler stated, "I wasn't part of [the] downtown club scene, and I had nothing to do with so-called 'graffiti art' ... I always used to tell people, 'I'm an abstract artist before anything else.' For me, it's always been more about line, form, balance and the edge of the canvas-all these formalist concerns-than it has been about subject matter or narrative or politics."


Baechler draws inspiration from photographs, which he has collected over his lifetime and stores in file cabinets in his studio. He collects thousands of photos, but only chooses one or two out of a few hundred photos. Baechler says, "It's necessary to accumulate all of these things to get to the point of what's important."


Baechler has a Pop-art style that combines bright colors with energetic images, but refers to himself as a Neo-Expressionist. Art critic Steven Vincent stated in Art in America, "Like Art Brut, Donald Baechler's seemingly ingenuous depictions of everyday objects and simple figures succeed in large part by tapping into our nostalgia for childhood, that period of life before the riveting onset of self-consciousness and guilt."


Donald Baechler has work featured in the permanent collections of prestigious institutions as the MoMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Centre George Pompidou in Paris, Sammlung Ludwig in Germany, Stedelijk Museum in Holland and the Modern and Contemporary Museum in Geneva.


Related Categories: East Village Art, Representation of Everyday Objects, Nostalgia, Silkscreen/Screenprint, Collage, Neo-Expressionism, Mixed-Media, United States, Painting, Comic/Cartoon.