Julian Schnabel

Julian Schnabel
Born (1951-10-26) October 26, 1951
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Education University of Houston
Known for Painting, film
Style "Plate paintings"
Movement Neo-expressionism
Spouse(s) Jacqueline Beaurang (divorced); 3 children including Vito Schnabel
Olatz López Garmendia (divorced); 2 children
Website http://www.julianschnabel.com

Julian Schnabel (born October 26, 1951) is an American painter and filmmaker. In the 1980s, Schnabel received international media attention for his "plate paintings"—large-scale paintings set on broken ceramic plates.

Schnabel directed Before Night Falls, which became Javier Bardem's breakthrough Academy Award-nominated role, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which was nominated for four Academy Awards.

He has won the award for best director at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival,[1] a Golden Globe, as well as BAFTA, a César Award, four nominations for the Golden Lion and an Academy Award nomination.

Early life and education

Schnabel was born to a Jewish family[2] in Brooklyn, New York, to Esta (née Greenberg) and Jack Schnabel,[3] he moved with his family to Brownsville, Texas in 1965.[4] He received his B.F.A. at the University of Houston. After graduating, he sent an application to the Independent Study Program (ISP) at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. His application included slides of his work sandwiched between two pieces of bread. He was admitted into the program and studied there from 1973-1975.[4]


It was with his first solo show, at the Mary Boone Gallery in 1979, that Schnabel had his breakthrough; all his works were sold in advance. He participated at the Venice Biennale in 1980 with Anselm Kiefer and George Baselitz. By the time he exhibited his work in a show jointly organized by Boone and Leo Castelli in 1981, he had become firmly established and was the youngest artist in the legendary exhibition 'A New Spirit in Painting' in the Royal Academy of Arts. His now famous "plate paintings" — large-scale paintings set on broken ceramic plates—received a boisterous and critical reception from the art world. His wild and expressive works were classed as neo-expressionism by art critics. In the years to follow Schnabel's success on the art market would above all be criticised.[5]

Schnabel's style is characterised by very large scale paintings. He uses diverse materials such as plaster, wax, photographs, antlers, velvet and ceramics. His paintings make use of canvas, wood, muslin and even surfboards. His paintings often combine abstract and figurative elements. Due to the size, weight and depth of his works, they are often given sculptural properties.

In 2002, Schnabel painted the cover artwork for the Red Hot Chili Peppers' eighth studio album, By the Way. The woman featured on the cover of By the Way is Julian's daughter, Stella Schnabel, who was band member John Frusciante's then-girlfriend.[59] Regarding the artwork, Frusciante noted: "My girlfriend's father offered to do the album art, so we sent him rough mixes of eight songs, and he just got the vibe of the album from that. He said that he wouldn't be offended if we didn't like it, but we loved what he did. He's also given us great covers for all the singles. He's a true artist."

In 2011 Museo Correr exhibited Julian Schnabel: Permanently Becoming and the Architecture of Seeing, a selected survey show of Schnabel's career curated by Norman Rosenthal.[6]

Art critic Robert Hughes was one of the most outspoken critics of his work; he once stated that "Schnabel's work is to painting what Stallone's is to acting: a lurching display of oily pectorals." (Time Magazine, August 7, 2012).

In the 2017 Swedish film The Square, set in a museum of modern art, Dominic West plays a character modeled on Schnabel.[7][8][9]

Museum collections

His works are in the collections of various museums throughout the world, among them the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Reina Sofia in Madrid; Tate Modern in London and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

Schnabel had an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, which ran from September 1, 2010 to January 2, 2011 and occupied the entirety of the gallery's fifth floor. It examined "the rich interplay between Schnabel's paintings and films".[10]


Schnabel began his film career in the 1990s with the film Basquiat, a biopic on the painter Jean-Michel Basquiat (1996), followed by Before Night Falls (2000), an adaptation of Reinaldo Arenas' autobiographical novel, which he also produced, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. He directed The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007), an adaptation (with a screenplay by Ronald Harwood) of a French memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly earned him the award for best director at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival,[1] the Golden Globe for best director, the Independent Spirit Award for best director, and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director.

Despite the fact that producing The Diving Bell and the Butterfly might seem like a commission to do someone else's work, Schnabel took on the film. According to Schnabel,

I used to go up to read to Fred Hughes, Andy Warhol’s business partner, who had multiple sclerosis. And as Fred got worse, he ended up locked inside his body. I had been thinking that I might make a movie about Fred when his nurse, Darren McCormick, gave me Bauby’s memoir, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Then, in 2003, when my father was dying, the script arrived from Kennedy. So it didn’t feel quite like taking on a commissioned job.

In 2007, Schnabel designed Lou Reed's critically acclaimed 'Berlin' Tour and released Lou Reed's Berlin.[11] In 2010, Schnabel then directed the film Miral.

In May 2017, Schnabel announced that he will direct a film about the painter Vincent Van Gogh during his time in Arles and Auvers-sur-Oise, France. The film is called At Eternity's Gate and the script was written by Schnabel and French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière and will star Willem Dafoe as Van Gogh.[12] Other actors include Mathieu Amalric, Mads Mikkelsen, Niels Arestrup, Oscar Isaac as Paul Gauguin and Emmanuelle Seigner as "the woman from Arles" or L'Arlésienne. Shooting started in the fall of 2017.[13]

Writing and recording

Schnabel published his autobiography, CVJ: Nicknames of Maitre D's & Other Excerpts From Life (Random House, New York), in 1987 and released the album Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud on Island Records (Catalog #314-524 111-2) in 1995.

Recorded in Brooklyn, New York, in 1993, the album features guest musicians including Bill Laswell, Bernie Worrell, Buckethead, and Nicky Skopelitis.

Personal life

In 1980, he married Belgian clothing designer Jacqueline Beaurang; they have three children:[14][15] two daughters, Lola, a painter and filmmaker, Stella, a poet and actress, and a son, Vito, an art dealer.[16]

He has twin sons, Cy and Olmo, with his second wife, Basque actress Olatz López Garmendia.[17][18][19]

His collaboration with Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal, who penned the screenplay and original source novel for Schnabel's film Miral, extended beyond the movie. Schnabel was in a relationship with her from 2007 to 2011.[20][21][22]

Schnabel dated Danish model May Andersen; they have a son, who was born in June 2013.[23]

Schnabel lives in New York, maintaining studios in New York City and in Montauk on the far eastern end of Long Island. Schnabel resides at 360 West 11th Street, in a former West Village horse stable that he purchased and converted for residential use, adding five luxury condominiums in the style of a Northern Italian palazzo. It is named the Palazzo Chupi, and it is easy to spot because it is painted pink.[24]


See also


  1. 1 2 "Festival de Cannes: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
  2. Brown, Mark (September 2, 2010). "Jewish director Julian Schnabel brings Palestine to Venice". The Guardian. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  3. "Paid Notice: Deaths - Schnabel, Esta". New York Times. November 19, 2002. Retrieved 2010-10-30. Devoted mother to Andrea, Stephen, Julian.
  4. 1 2 "The double life of Julian: how the bad boy painter turned fêted director". London, UK: The Independent. 2007-05-29. Archived from the original on July 1, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
  5. "Julian Schnabel: dedications". Julian Schnabel. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  6. Morgan, Robert C. "In Venice: Schnabel and the Persistence of Art". The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  7. "Dominic West: Julian Schnabel was dismissive and rather grand when we met - Independent.ie". Independent.ie. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  8. Murphy, Mekado. "Anatomy of a Scene | 'The Square'". NYTimes.com - Video. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  9. "'The Square includes one of the best scenes ever in cinema', says actor Dominic West". Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  10. "Julian Schnabel: Art and Film | AGO Art Gallery of Ontario". Ago.net. Retrieved 2011-01-25.
  11. "Berlin". Archived from the original on March 9, 2008.
  12. http://www.indiewire.com/2017/05/willem-dafoe-vincent-van-gogh-julian-schnabel-cannes-1201830860/
  13. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/afm-spk-pictures-finance-new-films-julian-schnabel-harmony-korine-1054168
  14. Stone, Michael (May 18, 1992). "Off the Canvas: The Art of Julian Schnabel Survives the Wreckage of the Eighties". New York. p. 34.
  15. Rowes, Barbara (December 12, 1983). "For Painter Julian Schnabel, There's No Sound Sweeter Than Cracking Crockery". People. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  16. "The Schnabel Family". The New York Observer
  17. Brown, Mick (January 19, 2008). "Julian Schnabel: Larging It". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
  18. Ramudo, Susana (2018). "The Style Of Olatz Schnabel". Azure Azure. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  19. "Mr Big bounces back: Julian Schnabel's amazing journey from faded art star to film-maker extraordinaire". The Independent. 13 January 2008. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  20. Enk, Bryan (2011-04-20). "Movie Blogs". Blog.movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
  21. http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Rula+Jebreal/Julian+Schnabel+Opening+Exhibition+Arrivals/Zjmr-_gXL6r
  22. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2011/08/julian_schnabel_and_rula_jebre_1.html
  23. "Artist Julian Schnabel and model May Andersen engaged". Nypost.com. 2012-11-21. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
  24. Barbanel, Josh (2009-12-06). "Price Cuts of a Princely Kind". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
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