DURING his lifetime he exhibited his work around the world and even sold his sculptures to the King of Spain.
Sadly the well known American sculptor, Bayard Osborn has died shortly before his 90th birthday after a long illness.
Born in Manhattan in 1922 he was one of the first foreigners to move to Gaucin where he lived for over 30 years in a house which hosted a spacious top-floor studio, where many of his works were on display.
While most famous as an artist, Osborn was also with the US troops who liberated the concentration camp at Mauthausen during the Second World War.
He was also one of the last direct links to the New York avant garde of the 50s, including Andy Warhol, and to the Bloomsbury Set, specifically Hispanicist Gerald Brenan.
He leaves behind his widow Pilar, children Margaret, Io and Nicolas and step daughters Isabella, Lucinda and Consuelo, as well as his beloved dog Dolly.
An personal appreciation.
Internationally recognised as a sculptor and a painter, it is my privilege to have known Bayard Osborn as a man, a father to his children, a husband to his wife. He was an artist, indeed, and, like most artists, his art often came first. In my own mind, he was frenetic man, someone who wanted to get things done no matter what. One of my first memories of Andalucía is pelting down the hill from Jimena, where Bayard lived before Gaucín over 40 years ago, in an open car full of Pilar’s gorgeous daughters, headed for the beach at Alcaidesa. His driving was, well, erratic but fun.
At the time, Bayard and Pilar shared parts of a former convent in Jimena with my mother, to whom they were very good friends for many years. Sitting out on a well worn terrace passageway from one side of the cloisters to another, drink in hand, conversation was always interesting, always stimulating. Bayard had a way of provoking me into thinking, which at age 21, was disturbing. It was only much later that I was able to appreciate it and be grateful to a highly intelligent man.
His studio was downstairs, in one of the many cavernous rooms that led onto the cloisters proper. He was always in there, and I used to pop in (quietly) to watch him at work. He never objected, bless him. One day, earlier than usual, I caught him standing at the arched entrance to the cloisters. Approaching from the back, I saw this tall man in a blue dressing gown that was a little too short for him, clutching a dish full of dog food. He was in full cry: “A***hole! A***hole! C’mon, boy!” That was his name for his dog, who adored him. (It later became Ajo, when my mother took the animal over when Bayard and Pilar left Jimena for Gaucín. She thought it might be easier to explain to the neighbours.)
These are just a couple of fond memories of Bayard Osborn, who died recently at 89, just a few days before his 90th and after a long illness. My deepest condolences to Pilar, Margaret, Io and Nicolas, and of course to his step-daughters Isabella, Lucinda and Consuelo.
I first met him in 1960 when he lived in Churriana in a magnificent house with his wife, Anita. I late paid him a visit in Gaucin. He was a fine fellow whom I shall never forget. Adios, Bayard!
I first met Bayard when I was 6 or 7 years old, and he came to visit my parents in New Castle, PA, with my uncle Bill Parker. They were in the War together, and furloughed now and then together. My enormous regret is that I did not contact Bayard before his death, although had thought of it many times over the years. I knew him as an oil painter, and did not become acquainted with his Sculpture until tonight, when I discovered the following extraordinarily entertaining link:
My love goes out to Bayard’s memory and to his family.
Was Bayard Osborn the great-grandson of the American artist John La Farge?
Correct! Bayard was my Grandfather, Io is my mother.
Hi Zack, Not sure if you’ll see this, as it’s been a few years since you posted the comment I’m replying to. I was cleaning out some old books, and found a letter that your grandfather wrote, dated 1972. Looks like he was living in London at the time. Reading it transported me into his world for a few minutes, and I would love to be able to share it with you or someone in your family. Reach out by email if you see this, and hopefully everything aligns so I can send it by post soon. derekmciver (at) gmail (dot) com.
I haven’t a clue, Alexander. I met him when I was about 6, and never saw him after the war.
Bayard was not only a great artist who had an extraordinary artistic life. Perhaps more importantly and bearing in mind what a lonely, competitive profession art is, he was a lovely man, of immense kindness and consideration to everyone and everything and every creature. Warm heart is not a good enough epithet – his heart went out, gave itself, to his fellow inhabitants of this earth. I met Bayard when I was barely 19 years old in late 1962, when indeed he was living with Anita, his then wife. He was immensely kind to me in my state of lost boyhood, when I had jumped over the wall from Oxford University and was attempting to find myself in Andalusia. In those days, it was a very different pace to what it is now. Most of the people around me were sophisticated bohemians who had been around the cultural exile circuit for many years. I was a callow youth. Bayard instinctively knew how to give me the moral and intellectual support I was getting from no one else in that part at that time, except for Bayard and Gerald and Gamel Brennan, his dear friends. I left Andalusia in 1963, hardly ever to return. I visited Gaucin in about 2003 and called Bayard and it was as is there had been no passage of time at all. We simply picked up where we had left off,forty years earlier. That was a remarkable thing for me at the time, and was evidence of Bayard’s great well of friendship, respect and warmth for everyone around him, which was given out in the same way whether you were someone he talked to every day; or someone he had not seen for forty years. Gracias a Dios, that such people exist in the world, whose inner radiance is a source of comfort, spirit warmth and inspiration to all living things around them.
Thank you Martin. Yesterday I celebrated his 93rd birthday re-reading your your beautiful and moving eulogy.