Gallery Hopping: Julian and Vito Schnabel’s Father-Son Project in St. Moritz

'6 Rose Paintings' features elements the elder Schnabel has become known for.

Julian Schnabel, Vito Schnabel.
Image: David X Prutting/BFA.com
Picture from left: Schnabel Julian with Schnabel Vito Opening of Urs Fischer: Bruno & Yoyo at Vito Schnabel Gallery St.Moritz PhotoCredit: ©fotoSwiss.com/cattaneo

Picture from left: Schnabel Julian with Schnabel Vito
Opening of Urs Fischer: Bruno & Yoyo at Vito Schnabel Gallery St.Moritz. Image: © fotoswiss / Giancarlo Catteneo. Courtesy Vito Schnabel Gallery

For his second exhibition at his newly opened St Moritz galley, Vito Schnabel presents an exhibition of new paintings by his father Julian Schnabel.

The father-son project titled 6 Rose Paintings features many signature elements for which the painter has become famous, including the use of shattered crockery to unsettle the surface of the canvas.

As its name suggests the show presents six paintings depicting flowers in the grass. The roses grow in the cemetery near Van Gogh’s grave in Auvers-sur-Oise, France.

“It was that radical moment that an artist waits for,” Schnabel said about the incorporation of broken plates in his works in the late 1970s. “I wanted to make something that was exploding as much as I wanted to make something that was cohesive.”

Julian Schnabel Rose Painting (Near Van Gogh’s Grave) V (2015) Photo: Vito Schnabel Gallery

Julian Schnabel Rose Painting (Near Van Gogh’s Grave) V (2015)
Photo: Vito Schnabel Gallery

The artist explained that the inspiration for the unusual material came from a trip to Barcelona where he looked at Gaudí’s work at Park Güell in 1978.

“My interest, unlike Gaudi’s, was not in the patterning or the design of the glazed tiles, it was in the reflective property of white plates to disturb the picture plane. The disparity between reflectiveness of the plates and the paint were in disagreement with each other and the concept of mosaic, because they fractured its homogeneity.”

However in Schnabel’s new rose paintings, far from attempting to create a disjointed image, the three dimensional surface and the shadows cast by the broken plates reflect nature’s natural disharmony.

Vito Schnabel opened his gallery at the end of 2015. Photo: Vito Schnabel Gallery

Vito Schnabel opened his gallery at the end of 2015.
Photo: Vito Schnabel Gallery

Vito Schnabel opened his eponymous gallery in the Swiss resort town of St Moritz at the end of 2015 with a well-received solo exhibition by Urs Fischer.

Kicking off the gallery’s second show with a solo presentation of his famous father’s work demonstrates that rather than trying to “kill the father,” metaphorically speaking, Schnabel is embracing and carrying forward his father’s legacy. While putting on a show of his father’s work might present its own challenges to Vito, the real test of his abilities will be the gallery’s upcoming exhibition with Ron Gorchov.


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