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Julian Schnabel (b. 1951)
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Julian Schnabel (b. 1951)

Untitled (The Misunderstood One)

Details
Julian Schnabel (b. 1951)
Untitled (The Misunderstood One)
signed with the artist's initials 'JCS' (on the stretcher)
oil and modelling paste on velvet
95 7/8 x 71 7/8in. (243.5 x 182.5cm.)
Executed in 1986
Provenance
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 2005.
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.
Sale room notice
Please note that this work is titled Untitled (The Misunderstood One) and the medium is oil and modelling paste on velvet, and not as stated in the printed catalogue.

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Alexandra Werner

Lot Essay

‘Schnabel’s paintings are objects that have sculptural presence, by virtue of their size, their frame, their weight, their three dimensionality, or the different materials used in composing them. Like a piece of furniture, the painting’s proportions are directly related to their surroundings’
– Max Hollein

An opulent example from Julian Schnabel’s acclaimed series of Velvet Paintings, The Misunderstood One, 1986, is as enigmatic and emotive as its title. At over two metres tall, Schnabel has painted a larger-than-life contraption of interconnected golden bells set against a lush velvet black; in the background, horizontal pink lines streak and vanish. Characteristic of Schnabel’s practice, the painting is overpowering and possesses what art historian Max Hollein calls a ‘raw, instinctive quality…that gives his works a rare intensity and aura’, owing in part to the seemingly fragmentary and isolated central motif (M. Hollein, ‘The Works and Their Viewers’, Julian Schnabel: Malerei/ Paintings 1978 – 2003, exh. cat., Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, p. 37). By the year of 1986, Schnabel was an established presence on the New York art scene, known for his neo-expressionist paintings which placed his work in dialogue with that of Georg Baselitz among others; the next year would bring a retrospective of his work at the Whitney Museum of American Art. As with his Plate Paintings, the Velvet series transforms the established conventions of the fat pictorial plane. The Misunderstood One appears to crackle and fizz with a psychological charge, both as image and as a material surface, the black velvet emanating a mesmeric enchantment.

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