Julian Schnabel


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Life on the Big Canvas

The art of Julian Schnabel

Julian Schnabel makes art out of life. He uses everyday materials in paintings that carry a rich sense of history, he directs movies that paint portraits of artists and other heroes, and he builds his own dream of a Venetian palace in New York. This oversize limited-edition book, made in close collaboration with the artist, is the first to feature his work in all media and offers the most generous opportunity to experience Schnabel’s art outside of meeting it in person.

Collector’s Edition (No. 136–1,135), numbered and signed by Julian Schnabel. Also published in two different Art Editions.

“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 first solo exhibition in New York in 1979 that made him an overnight success. Since then, he has been synonymous with painting’s return to new relevance. Schnabel finds his materials in the fabric of the everyday. His plate paintings use broken crockery to form an improbable picture, ground in everyday materials, while he also paints on velvet, market stall covers, army tarps, kabuki theater backdrops, and 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 when 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 films to date, including Basquiat (1996), which offered an inside view of the New York art scene of the late 1970s and ‘80s and an intimate portrait of its title star; The Diving Bell and Butterfly (2007), a portrait of a man with locked-in syndrome refusing to give up that won Schnabel two Golden Globes; and the Van Gogh portrait At Eternity’s Gate (2018), a testament to the spirit of creativity.

The complete range of Schnabel’s work is 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 the novelist Daniel Kehlmann explores his cinematic oeuvre. This fittingly oversized edition allows you to study the surfaces and the many painterly incidents, offering the most generous opportunity to experience Schnabel’s art outside of meeting it in person.


Weight 7.83 kg
Dimensions 33 × 44 cm



ISBN 9783836581615

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