Donald Baechler (American, b. 1956)
Donald Baechler is American artist who was prominent in the Neo-Expressionist and Pop Art movements of the 1980s. Born on November 22, 1956, in Hartford, CT, he grew up in a Quaker family who nourished his early artistic talent. His formal education began at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore from 1974–1977, and continued at New York’s Cooper Union. In New York, he befriended Tony Shafrazi, founder of a downtown gallery that specialized in artwork inspired by graffiti. In this milieu, Baechler found himself amidst figures such as Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Kenny Scharf.
Baechler's creative process begins amidst his vast collection of popular images and objects, the product of years of photographing, looking and gathering. His paintings are condensed versions of that cumulative process, built in fragments and layers to create what he calls an "illusion of history."
Incorporating naivety in his depictions of child-like subjects, such as flowers, birds, and ice cream cones, Baechler work feels like a memory. “I'm drawn to silhouettes because of their emblematic rather than their illustrational quality,” Baechler reflected, “I see them as shapes, allowing an image to become an abstraction and for pure painting to take place.” His work avoids becoming illustration by emphasizing the subject's formal attributes than narrative.
Today, Baechler's works are held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California; the Centre George Pompidou, Paris, France; Musee National d’Art Moderne, Paris France; and the Goetz Collection in Munich, Germany, among others.