“I want my life to be in my work, crushed into my painting like a pressed car. If it’s not, my work is just some stuff.” Julian Schnabel said this on the eve of his overnight success in New York in 1979, and since then he has been synonymous with the return of painting to new relevance. This of plate paintings, using broken crockery as an improbable picture ground on everyday materials, finding his materials in the fabric of the everyday, painting on velvet, market stall covers, army tarps, kabuki theater backdrops, boxing ring floors—materials that lend their history to a painterly exploration, often discovered on his travels or around his outdoor studios. Place is important to Schnabel, both when he is creating the works and installing them in specific sites that add their own rich history to the layers of meaning.
His art knows no distinction between abstract and figurative, but sometimes the figurative shapes find their own lives in sculptures that transpose the paintings into space as raw, seemingly time-worn artifacts. Meanwhile, Schnabel has become famous as a movie director, creating six film so far: Basquiat from 1996 offered an inside view of the New York art scene of the late 1970s and 1980s and an intimate portrait of its title star; The Diving Bell and Butterfly portrait of a locked-in syndrome refusing to give up, won Schnabel two Golden Globes in 2007, to the van Gogh portrait At Eternity’s Gate from 2018, a testament to the spirit of creativity.
The complete range of Schnabel’s work now portrayed in unprecedented depth in this limited-edition book, made in close collaboration with the artist, who selected the works and designed the cover. The texts were contributed by friends and collaborators: Laurie Anderson draws a close portrait of the artist; in three art-historical essays, Éric de Chassey discusses the paintings, Bonnie Clearwater the sculpture, and Max Hollein the site-specific work; Donatien Grau writes on the Palazzo Chupi, the artist’s dream of a Venetian palace in New York’s West Village; while novelist Daniel Kehlmann explores the cinematic oeuvre. This fittingly oversized edition allows you to study the surfaces and the many painterly incidents and thus offers the most generous opportunity to experience Schnabel’s art outside of meeting it in person.
Limited Collector’s Edition (No. 136–1,135), numbered and signed by Julian Schnabel.
Edition of 1,000
Hans Werner Holzwarth, Louise Kugelberg
Hardcover in clamshell box, 33 x 44 cm, 7.83 kg (17.23 lb), 570 pages, numbered and signed by Julian Schnabel
Multilingual Edition: English, French, German