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Julian Schnabel (born October 26, 1951) is an Americanmarker artist and filmmaker. He has been acclaimed at Cannesmarker and has won a Golden Globe, as well as BAFTA, César Award, Golden Palm and two nominations for the Golden Lion and an Academy Award nomination. He has directed four films which were widely acclaimed, including Before Night Falls, which became Javier Bardem's breakthrough Academy Award nominated role, and the four-time Academy Award nominated The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. His latest film Miral was shot in Jerusalemmarker in 2009.

Early life and education

Born in Brooklynmarker, New York Citymarker to Esta and Jack Schnabel, Schnabel moved with his family to Brownsville, Texasmarker when still young. It was in Brownsville that he spent most of his formative years and where he took up surfing and resolved to be an artist.

He received his B.F.A. at the University of Houstonmarker. After graduating, he sent an application to the independent study program at the Whitney Museum of American Artmarker in New York. His application included slides of his work sandwiched between two pieces of bread. He was admitted into the program. Schnabel worked as a short-order cook and frequented Max's Kansas Citymarker, a restaurant-nightclub, while he worked on his art. In 1975, Schnabel had his first solo show at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. Over the next few years he 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, however, that Schnabel would truly come to be regarded as a major new force in the art world. 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. A reputation for making brash pronouncements about his importance to the art world ( "I'm the closest thing to Picasso that you'll see in this *#@ life") engendered contempt from both colleagues and the viewing public.

Schnabel's signature works contain an underlying edge of brutality, while remained suffused with compositional energy. Schnabel claims that he's "aiming at an emotional state, a state that people can literally walk into and be engulfed."

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

Museum collections

His works are in the collections of various museums throughout the world, among them the Metropolitan Museum of Artmarker; Museum of Modern Artmarker; The Whitney Museum of American Artmarker; The Museum of Contemporary Art , Los Angelesmarker; Los Angeles County Museum of Artmarker; Reina Sofia and the Centre Georges Pompidoumarker in Paris.


In addition to his work as an artist, 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, 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' ( 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 Yorkmarker 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 eastern end of Long Islandmarker with a house in San Sebastianmarker in Spain. 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.

He also has twin sons, Cy and Olmo, by his second wife, Spanish Basque actress and model Olatz López Garmendia. Garmendia appeared in Before Night Falls, and is also to be seen in The Diving Bell, as Bauby's physical therapist. Schnabel is fluent in Spanish.

See also



  1. The New York Observer

External links

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