Donald Baechler (born in 1956) is an American artist, who became part of the flourishing Lower Manhattan arts scene in the 1980s, showing in the East Village and exhibition spaces such as Artists Space and the Drawing Center. As a student at Cooper Union, in the late 1970s, Baechler found himself surrounded by the works of Pop artists and Neo-Expressionists, who played a big role in influencing his style.
The artist rose to prominence with his depictions of everyday objects, naive and simple figural executions as cultural symbols that appeal to the sentimental longing for childhood. Baechler got acquainted with Tony Shafrazi, who was focusing on graffiti-oriented works, and founded a downtown gallery that represented Baechler, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, and eventually Jean-Michel Basquiat.
"I'm an abstract artist before anything else, for me, it's always been more about line, form, balance and the edge of the canvas—all these silly formalist concerns—than it has been about subject matter or narrative or politics."
Baechler uses various mediums in his paintings by combining drawings and collage. His imagery includes nostalgic banal objects that draw associations with childhood; grammar school primers, old maps, and children’s drawings, a skull, a rose, a globe, and a soccer ball. Despite the associations with the graffiti art movement, Baechler emphasized that his art is rooted in abstraction. Mostly known as a painter, Baechler's three-dimensional work alludes to the sculptural works of Roy Lichtenstein, Alex Katz, and Carroll Dunham.