Julian Schnabel

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Julian Schnabel was a renowned American artist, screenwriter, painter, printmaker, sculptor and filmmaker, who was one of the most influential figures in the artist societies of the 1980s. Schnabel is a multi-talented and gifted artist who has made his mark in several fields. He is noted among the most influential and celebrated international painters who are said to have laid the foundation for the artistic movement of Neo-Expressionism with his bold and intensely expressive style. He is still remembered for the co-writing and directing the famous 1996 film, Basquiat.

Julian Schnabel was born on October 26, 1951, in New York City. He was raised in Texas where he attended the University of Houston from 1969, and after graduating in 1973, he moved to New York. In New York, Schnabel enrolled himself in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, he studied at the Museum till 1974. Following that, he conducted extensive travels to Europe which had a profound and lasting influence on his art and aesthetic taste.

In 1979, Schnabel showcased his first solo exhibition at the renowned and popular, Mary Boone Gallery. The exhibition was a tremendous success as it garnered Schnabel both praise and critical acclaim, and successfully launched his career as a promising artist. After that, there was no looking back for Schnabel, he had countless solo exhibitions all over the world that accumulated him fame and appraise from leading art circles.

His work has been showcased at several renowned and influential institutions all over the world that include, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Inverleith House, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Mostra d’Oltramare, Schloss Derneburg, the Beijing World Art Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Tate Gallery among many others.

Julian worked with large-scale paintings that illustrated a philosophical and monumental understanding through his art, and explored themes such as obsession, suffering, sexuality, death, belief and redemption. He is particularly famous for his work with velvet, broken plates, textiles and tarpaulins. He earned the nickname “the bad boy of the art world” for his unconventional style and use of unusual techniques, for instance, incorporating broken pottery to his canvases.

He drew much influence from the practices of Cy Twombly and Cubism, and his art was a blend of painting and collage techniques. Some of his famous and highly acclaimed paintings include the Portrait of Andy Warhol, La Blusa Rosa II, Invierno, Tour of Hell I, Man of Sorrow (The King) and  Death of a Mountain Guide among others.

In the 1990s, Schnabel began to turn towards other creative outlets, and his interests were piqued by the film making business. In 1996, he earned immense acclaim and praise as the co-writer and director of the popular film, Basquiat. In 2000, he began working on his next film, Before Night Falls, which tells the story of the visionary Cuban novelist and poet, Reinaldo Arenas. The movie was a great commercial success and it garnered him immense critical acclaim. From then on, Schnabel went on to write and direct a series of commercially successful films that garnered immense acclaim and popularity. Some of his highly acclaimed films include, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Lou Reed’s Berlin and Miral.

Schnabel’s work has been rewarded with several awards and accolades that include, the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Globe Award.

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