An immense young blond girl stares back at you, or would stare if she had eyes, from the museum wall. Your neck cranes to take in the 13 foot high painting with a black streak that has robbed the youth of her eyes, but her blue dress, lily white skin, and deep blue dress looms over you in perfect strokes and beauty. The painting is Large Girl with no eyes by renowned painter, postmodernist, filmmaker, and director Julian Schnabel.
Julian was born in Brooklyn in 1951 and graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in the late 70’s. He left college and traveled through Europe working many odd menial jobs such as a cab driver and a cook to name a couple. When he arrived back in the states he decided he would paint for a living. From his first showing at the Mary Boone Gallery in 1980, he revolutionized and blew the whole art scene into a new era. He wowed everyone with his postmodernist style and larger than life canvases.
Overnight Julian self promoted himself into every gallery he wanted to be in and mingled and surpassed many of the prominent artists of the New York City circle of painters. Julian changed art into the action he believed it should be, with large quantities of paint and brush strokes quickly thrown onto 13-15 foot canvases, and an added third dimension of shards of pottery and a piece of velvet or some other material slipped into the mixture. The canvas became a living mass of paint, pottery, fabric, color, figures, shapes, and words. His monstrous masterpieces were created in such speed that it has been said that Julian Schnabel sold over 60 paintings in one year, not to mention what he had put on museum walls. During this time of creativity he received rave reviews and was hailed as a genius throughout the 80’s.
Just as suddenly as he burst onto the scene he abruptly walked away. Then in1996 he suddenly showed up as a director at the Venice Film Festival with his movie Basquiat based on the life of the famous painter Jean-Michael Basquiat. His two movies since his debut, Before Night Falls and Le Scaphandre et le Papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) , have been received with grand accolades. For “The Scaphandre” he received the coveted director’s award at the Cannes Movie Festival. Whether he continues directing, moves back to painting, or goes on to do something else, you can bet Julian Schnable will make a grand showing.