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PRINT February 1992

POOL IN ROCKS BY THE SEA

SEEING, OF COURSE, is always perceiving—an imaginative integration of memory, feeling, and anticipation, all subsumed under the aegis of style, that haphazard collection of conventions and intentions. But Don Bachardy, in his recent book Last Drawings of Christopher Isherwood, gives the appearance of seeing simply and purely more than any draftsman I know, which is especially remarkable since whathe is looking at is the man he has lived with for some thirty years. Isherwood, when the drawings were made, was in his last months of life, had for the most part stopped talking, and seemed scarcely conscious of anything beyond his bodily suffering. With a paradoxically vigorous line, Bachardy recorded this collapse. Looking at Isherwood cruelly, if cruelty means honesty, he made these drawings the most disturbingly transgressive images I’ve seen of a man, a beloved man, dying and dead.

The pictures

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