Julian Schnabel, Brooklyn, New York 1951
“My paintings take up room, they make a stand. People will always react to that. Some people get inspired, others get offended. But, that's good. I like that.”—Julian Schnabel
The legendary and controversial painter and filmmaker Julian Schnabel is a leading figure of American neo-expressionism. His audaciously gestural application of paint onto monumental canvases is decidedly Baroque in spirit, as indeed is his obsession with epic themes of human suffering, redemption, death, belief, and sexuality. Abstraction and figuration, words and symbols, painting and collage layer and mingle in his bold, dynamic works which almost invariably use unconventional or found materials, from broken plates and cracked mirrors to vintage maps and exotic theatre backdrops. Born in Brooklyn, Schnabel rose to prominence on the New York art scene in the late 1970s. In the 1990s, the artist turned to filmmaking with Basquiat (1996), a fictionalized account of the life of his late friend and fellow painter. Schnabel won the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival for Before Night Falls (2000) and the Best Director Prize for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) at the Cannes Film Festival. The artist lives and works today between Manhattan and Montauk, and his work features in many international collections both private and public.