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[1] (divorced); 3 children
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,[2] a Golden Globe, as well as BAFTA, a César Award, two nominations for the Golden Lion and an Academy Award nomination.

Early life and education

Born in Brooklyn, New York to Esta (née Greenberg) and Jack Schnabel,[3] He moved with his family to Brownsville, Texas, when still young.[4]

It was in Brownsville that he spent most of his formative years and where he took up surfing and resolved to be an artist.[5]

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.[4]

Schnabel worked as a short-order cook and frequented Max's Kansas City, a restaurant-nightclub, while he worked on his art. In 1975, Schnabel had his first solo museum exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. Over the years, Schnabel traveled frequently to Europe, where he was enormously impressed by the work of Antoni Gaudi, Cy Twombly and Joseph Beuys.


It was with his first solo show, at the Mary Boone Gallery in 1979, that Schnabel became known. He participated at the Venice Biennale in 1980, and by the mid-1980s had become a major figure in the Neo-expressionism movement. By the time he exhibited his work in a show jointly organized by Boone and Leo Castelli in 1981, he had become firmly established. His now famous "plate paintings" — large-scale paintings set on broken ceramic plates—received a boisterous and critical reception from the art world.[6]

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 Stella Schnabel, Julian Schnabel's daughter and 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."

Schnabel insists he is a painter first and foremost, though he is better known for his films.

Painting is like breathing to me. It’s what I do all the time. Every day I make art, whether it is painting, writing or making a movie.[7]

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.[8]

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).

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".[9]


Schnabel has written and directed the films Basquiat, a biopic on the painter Jean-Michel Basquiat (1996), and Before Night Falls (2000), an adaptation of Reinaldo Arenas' autobiographical novel, which he also produced. 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,[2] the Golden Globe for best director, the Independent Spirit Award for best director, and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director. Schnabel, who designed Lou Reed's critically acclaimed 'Berlin' Tour in 2007, also released 'Berlin the Movie'.[10]

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.

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

Schnabel lives in New York, maintaining studios in New York City and in Montauk on the far eastern end of Long Island. He also has a home in San Sebastián in the Basque Country.[5] He has three children by his first wife, clothing designer Jacqueline Beaurang: two daughters, Lola, a painter and film-maker, Stella, a poet and actress, and a son, Vito, an art dealer.[11]

He has twin sons, Cy and Olmo, by his second wife, Spanish Basque actress Olatz López Garmendia. Garmendia appeared in Before Night Falls, and as Bauby's physical therapist in The Diving Bell.[5]

His collaboration with 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 June 2011.[12]

Since 2012, Schnabel has been dating May Andersen, a former model and assistant director at the Hole Gallery. Schnabel and Andersen have one son, Shooter, who was born in August 2013.[13]

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's easy to spot because it is painted pink.[14]

The building is controversial in its Greenwich Village neighborhood because it was built taller than a rezoning, happening at the same time as the construction began, allowed. Neighbors also alleged illegal work done on the site. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and allies called on the city for stricter enforcement, but Schnabel's home eventually rose to the 167 feet he desired, rather than the new 75-foot limit imposed by the Far West Village downzoning of 2005.[15]


See also


  1. New York Magazine. Books.google.ca. 1992-05-18. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
  2. 1 2 "Festival de Cannes: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
  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. 1 2 3 Brown, Mick (January 19, 2008). "Julian Schnabel: Larging It". London, UK: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
  6. "Julian Schnabel: dedications". Julian Schnabel. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  7. Linda Yablonsky (February 11, 2008). "Conversation With Julian Schnabel". ART+AUCTION. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  8. Morgan, Robert C. "In Venice: Schnabel and the Persistence of Art". The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  9. "Julian Schnabel: Art and Film | AGO Art Gallery of Ontario". Ago.net. Retrieved 2011-01-25.
  10. "Berlin". Archived from the original on March 9, 2008.
  11. "The Schnabel Family". The New York Observer
  12. Enk, Bryan (2011-04-20). "Movie Blogs". Blog.movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
  13. "Artist Julian Schnabel and model May Andersen engaged". Nypost.com. 2012-11-21. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
  14. Barbanel, Josh (2009-12-06). "Price Cuts of a Princely Kind". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
  15. "Preservation Alert - Julian Schnabel". Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
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