Julian Schnabel – The Bad Boy of the Art World

Julian Schnabel, one of the most recognized faces of Abstract Art in the modern era, was born on October 26, 1951 in the New York City, to Esta and Jack Schnabel. This multi-faceted American personality is a painter, a filmmaker, a sculptor, a furniture designer, and a property developer. Schnabel grew up in a Russian-Jewish neighborhood near Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn; he though spent most of his formative years in Brownsville, Texas. He was inclined towards art from childhood and went on to study B.F.A. from the University of Houston in 1973. He went back to New York the same year to attend the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study program for young artists. He married twice and has three children from his first wife, Jacqueline Beaurang, who is a clothing designer. Julian Schnabel has twin sons from his second wife, Spanish Basque actor and model, Olatz L√≥pez Garmendia.

In the beginning, the artist lived a bohemian lifestyle and traveled extensively across the globe, funding his jaunts by working as a cook and a cab driver. Julian’s maverick lifestyle earned him the reputation of ‘the bad boy of the art world.’ He was a regular visitor to the Max’s Kansas City, a restaurant-nightclub in the New York City, where he practiced his art. This modern age neo-expressionist however, became a force to reckon with, after he exhibited his work at the Mary Boone Gallery in 1979. The following year, Julian participated in Venice Biennale and was an immediate success. Schnabel’s ability to market his skills quickly propelled him into the public eye as is evident from the fact that his artworks can be found in the museums all over world. Soon he was recognized among the geniuses of the 20th century art. His paintings consist of vivacious colors and adventurous brush strokes. Julian’s unusual painting styles are generally filled with great raw power and emotional energy such as in “The Walk Home (1985).”

Throughout his life, Schnabel has often been surrounded by controversies, most of them cropping up due to his outspoken and brash behavior. Several critics blamed him for commercializing his art and derided his work. To the admirers however, who love his eccentric personality, Julian Schnabel is a modern day hero who is credited for reviving ‘painting’ as a noble art form. In the year 1987, Schnabel published his autobiography, “CVJ: Nicknames of Maitre D’s & Other Excerpts from Life.”

Schnabel has also written and directed three movies, which were artistic biographies, including “Basquiat” in 1996, a biopic on the painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, and “Before Night Falls,” based on the memoir of Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas in the year 2000. He was also the producer of these movies. In addition, Schnabel won the award for best director at 2007 Cannes Film Festival for his third movie, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” which was an adaptation of a French memoir.