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b. 1951, United States

Julian Schnabel Biography

A key figure in the Neo-expressionist movement, American artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel is known for his biographical films, as well as his paintings made from plate fragments, velvet, wood, and wax.

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Schnabel lives and works in Montauk and New York City.

Early Years

Julian Schnabel was born in 1951 in Brooklyn, New York. He moved to Texas with his family in 1965, and earned a BFA from the University of Houston in 1973.

Whitney Museum

After graduation, Schnabel applied to the independent study program at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York by sending slides of his work sandwiched between slices of bread. He secured admission from 1973—75, and a year after finishing the program, held his first exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston. In 1979, his first solo show at Mary Boone Gallery in New York sold out before it opened.

Plate Paintings

In the 1980s, Schnabel became known for both large oil-on-velvet portraits of fellow artists such as Andy Warhol, as well as his 'Plate Paintings' made from shattered plates. To make the latter works, Schnabel covered crockery and pottery shards—materials typically associated with 'cheap art'—with thick layers of oil paint. Inspired by Antoni Gaudi's mosaic benches in Barcelona, the plate paintings depict vivid, distorted landscapes and figures wearing austere expressions.

Working alongside other Neo-expressionist painters such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and David Salle, Schnabel was a part of a wave of artists who, in reaction to the rigidness of Minimalism and Conceptual art, sought to reintroduce sentiment to art through raw materials, emotive brushstrokes and intense colour. Schnabel's commitment to excess is evident in his larger-than-life subjects and textured surfaces such The Student of Prague (1983)—a triptych plate painting depicting crucifixes and altarpieces devoid of all sacredness, showing rather, a world falling apart between porcelain shards.

Arthouse Cinema (1990s)

Most of Schnabel's films are driven by biographical narratives, beginning with Basquiat (1996), which, based on the eponymous artist's life, is set against the New York art scene of the late 1970s and 80s. Schnabel's next film, Before Night Falls (2000), recounts the life of Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas, and was awarded the Grand Prize Jury at the Venice Film Festival; while Miral (2010) is based on Rula Jebreal's recounting of her youth in the West Bank.

Schnabel's 2007 film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)—an adaptation of a French memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby—won two Golden Globes, four nominations for the Academy Award, another for the Cesar Award, and the Cannes Film Festival Award—all for best director.

Exhibitions

Julian Schnabel's work has been shown in major institutions including the Tate, London (1983); Inverleith House, Edinburgh (2003); Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (2004); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2004); Mostra d'Oltramare, Naples (2005); Schloss Derneburg, Germany (2007); Tabacalera Donostia, San Sebastian (2007); Beijing World Art Museum (2007); and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2010).

Retrospectives of Julian Schnabel's work have been held at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1987); Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona (1995); Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2004); Museo Correr, Venice (2011); Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich, Connecticut (2013); the University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor (2015); the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2016); The Glass House, New Canaan, Connecticut (2017); and Aros Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark (2018—19).

Collections

Institutional and private collectors include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; MoMA, New York; the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Broad Art Foundation, Los Angeles; Reina Sofia, Madrid; and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

Galleries

On Ocula, Julian Schnabel is represented by Pace Gallery and Almine Rech.

Website

The artist's website can be found here.

Elaine YJ Zheng | Ocula | 2021

Julian Schnabel
featured artworks

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Ascension I by Julian Schnabel contemporary artwork painting, print
Julian Schnabel Ascension I, 2015 Inkjet print, spray paint on polyester
213.4 x 158.8 cm
Pace Gallery Request Price & Availability
The Nine Skies and the Mountain Fortress III by Julian Schnabel contemporary artwork painting
Julian Schnabel The Nine Skies and the Mountain Fortress III, 2023 Oil, bleach on velvet in artist's frame
247 x 201 x 6.4 cm
Pace Gallery Request Price & Availability
Gulf of Genoa March 1799 by Julian Schnabel contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Julian Schnabel Gulf of Genoa March 1799, 2022 Oil on paper
137.5 x 104 cm
Robilant+Voena Request Price & Availability
Italia 1805 by Julian Schnabel contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Julian Schnabel Italia 1805, 2022 Oil on paper
146.5 x 109.5 cm
Robilant+Voena Request Price & Availability
Untitled (BEZ) by Julian Schnabel contemporary artwork mixed media
Julian Schnabel Untitled (BEZ), 2011 Mixed technique
160 x 111 cm
Templon Request Price & Availability
Ascension IV by Julian Schnabel contemporary artwork mixed media
Julian Schnabel Ascension IV, 2015 Inkjet print, ink, and spray paint on polyester
213.4 x 158.8 x 5.1 cm
Almine Rech Request Price & Availability
Untitled (Chinese) by Julian Schnabel contemporary artwork mixed media
Julian Schnabel Untitled (Chinese), 2011 Oil and resin on polyester
228.5 x 203 cm
Templon Request Price & Availability
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Julian Schnabel
recent exhibitions

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Represented by these
Ocula Member Galleries

Almine Rech contemporary art gallery in Brussels, Belgium
Almine Rech London, New York, Shanghai, Paris, Brussels +2
Pace Gallery contemporary art gallery in 540 West 25th Street, New York, United States
Pace Gallery Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo +3
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