Monday, February 02, 2009

Jerry Brown: The Once and Future Governor

Jerry Brown has decided to run for governor of California. Again. And I think California needs him again. Jerry Brown had the vision to select the eminent artist Don Bachardy to paint his official Governor's portrait. I consider it to be the best American political portrait painting of the 20th century.

Don Bachardy
Portrait of Governor Jerry Brown
oil on canvas
California State Capitol Museum, Sacramento, California

Don Bachardy painting a portrait of his partner, the writer Christopher Isherwood
photo by Jack Shear

Guido Santi and Tina Mascara's recent film, "Chris & Don: A Love Story", chronicles the relationship between painter Don Bachardy and writer Christopher Isherwood. The film includes a series of interviews with Bachardy (who still lives in the Santa Monica home he shared with Isherwood) as well as images and home movies and fleeting re-enactments of the men in their younger days.

More on Jerry Brown from his official bio:
The son of former Governor Pat Brown, Jerry Brown was born in San Francisco in 1938. At age three, he became the youngest person to climb Yosemite's Ledge Trail. Brown's education included studies at the Jesuit Seminary, a law degree from Yale, and degrees in Latin and Greek from U.C. Berkeley. A lawyer, he eventually served on the L.A. School Board and as Secretary of State. As Governor, he had revolutionary ideas about state spending and refused to live in the huge new governor's mansion - renting a modest apartment instead, and nixing the governor's limousine in favor of a state-issued Plymouth. Brown was a leader in energy efficiency, sponsored and signed the first labor laws in the U.S. to protect farmworkers, and began the California Conservation Corps. His appointments emphasized minorities and women, echoing the social awareness of his era.

Jerry's official bio:
Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown 34th Governor, Democrat (1975-1983)

1 comment:

PeterAtLarge said...

Ah, yes, Gregg, the "vision thing," as Bush elder famously called it. Maybe what we need in California is another visionary--I'm not convinced myself that we need the same one again. Great to see the Bachardy portrait. He did mine--twice, the second time in the nude!