Saturday, 30 June 2012

Bayard Osborn, sculptor and painter (1923-2012)

GAUCÍN 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 gorgeous step-daughters Isabella, Lucinda and Consuelo.

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