Wet Paint: Julian Schnabel Is Having a Baby at 70, Market Goes Gaga for Long-Dead Surrealist, & More Juicy Art-World Gossip

What rock star has a secret stash of George Condo paintings? What unlikely U.S. city is being scouted by a mega-gallery? Read on for answers.

Julian Schnabel at the Venice Film Festival. (Photo by Stefania D'Alessandro/WireImage)

Every week, Artnet News Pro brings you Wet Paint, a gossip column of original scoops reported and written by Nate Freeman. If you have a tip, email Nate at [email protected].



Julian Schnabel, perhaps the most famous American artist alive, is about to enter his eighth decade on planet earth. But he’s not slowing down—he’s had three shows at Pace in the past year, two in New York and one in Palm Beach, and he’s the primary force behind a 570-page doorstop of a monograph that’s forthcoming from Taschen. (Clasped in a clamshell cover that’s the same pepto-pink hue as the Palazzo Chupi, “it’s the most generous opportunity to experience Schnabel’s art outside of meeting it in person,” per Taschen spox.) The tome costs $1,500, and all 1,100 copies produced have been sold. You just can’t stop Schnabel.

Julian Schnabel and Louise Kugelberg walk the red carpet during the 76th Venice Film Festival. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

In fact, Wet Paint can reveal there’s another big development in Julian world: another little one is about to become part of his illustrious brood. That’s right—the 69-year-old is having a daughter, his seventh child, with his wife, the writer and designer Louise Kugelberg.

Sure, it’s 2021, and science be praised, Mick Jagger is out here having his eighth kid at 73—but it’s worthwhile to note that Julian became a grandfather just a few months ago, when his daughter Stella Schnabel had her first child.

Taschen’s new Julian Schnabel book. Photo courtesy Julian Schnabel.

Schnabel baby will be eight years younger than her closest sibling, Shooter Sandhed Julian Schnabel Jr., whom the artist shares with Danish model May Andersen. (That baby shower is a big act to follow: last time the stork came flying in, Peter Brant and Stephanie Seymour hosted a bash where Schnabel the Elder unveiled a 20-foot-tall painting of his pregnant paramour.)

Sources say that lucky number seven is due in a few months, meaning things must be busy in New York’s more Schnabel-heavy precincts, on West 11th Street in Manhattan and the tip of Long Island in Montauk. All snark aside, the members of the Schnabel family are really some of the nicest people in the game, so this column gives a hearty welcome to the new kid. Mazel to Julien and Louise.

The artist did not comment through Pace.



Gertrude Abercrombie, Giraffe (1954). Photo courtesy Sotheby’s.

Plenty of trend lines emerged from the auctions last week—we’ve already told you this stuff, but if you happen to have any A-plus works by, say, the Dallas-based self-taught neo-expressionist Jammie Holmes, maybe go call upon your local local art dealer.

But the newest, hottest artist to come out of auction week isn’t a young figurative painter. It’s Gertrude Abercrombie, a Chicago surrealist who was barely known outside of the Midwest when she died in 1978.

Gertrude Abercrombie in 1951. Carl Van Vechten, courtesy of the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division.

Gertrude Abercrombie in 1951. Carl Van Vechten, courtesy of the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division.

Since 2018, there’s been some market action around Abercrombie bubbling up slowly. The artist had not been shown in New York since the 1950s when Karma, the beloved and expanding art and publishing concern in the East Village, staged an acclaimed survey of her work with curator Dan Nadel.

The accompanying book fleshed out the narrative: Abercrombie was a surrealist who acted as a pivotal member of the Windy City’s bebop scene—Dizzy Gillespie was a close friend and muse—and acted as a key source of inspiration to the city’s Imagist movement that emerged in the 1960s. The paintings were undeniably gorgeous, but with no market established, prices were in the four figures.

Gertrude Abercrombie show at Karma. Photo courtesy Karma.

But now, with a giant retrospective at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh on the horizon, Amercrombie works have become manna for in-the-know connoisseurs. The demand is such that, when an Abercromie came to auction Wednesday at Sotheby’s with a $15,000 high estimate, it hammered at $290,000, or $365,000 with fees.

Sources say that some of the collectors who purchased work by Abercrombie below the $10,000 mark a few years ago are now looking to sell. The sale Wednesday took place in a non-marquee American art sale. Expect the next one to be in a major evening sale—perhaps on the cover of a digital catalogue.



The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Photo courtesy Felix.

A year ago, the experts were saying we could never shake hands again, and the idea of entering an enclosed space was terrifying to most Americans. Fast forward to May 2021, and we have art fairs again. (Vaccines are magic.) While TEFAF may have scotched its much-delayed September edition in Maastricht, in the better-vaxxed purple mountains majesty there will be wet hot American art fairs this summer and fall.

First up is Felix, the Los Angeles fair that opens its doors in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on July 29. It’s focusing on galleries with local outlets, and the exhibitors list is a ‘27 Yankees of La La Land art shops. There’s the big guns such as David Kordansky, Gagosian, Blum & Poe, Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Francois Ghebaly—all first-time Felix exhibitors—and younger outfits like Chateau Shatto, Matthew Brown Gallery, Chris Sharp Gallery, and Parker Gallery. Plus, there’s rumors of a party hosted by a certain art-world gossip column happening that week… consider leaving the Hamptons just this once for some West Coast action.

The new site of Independent. Photo courtesy Independent.

Then, in September, the Independent and Armory Show fairs return to New York. Both are trying out new venues: Cipriani South Street and the Javits Center, respectively. Independent’s got some newcomers, too: Spaces such as Vito Schnabel Gallery, Off Paradise, Mrs., Broadway, and The Ranch are all taking part for the first time. Get your art-fair shoes ready.



Last week, all I gave you readers to go on was a picture of a spice rack, the French tarragon and bay leaves bought from that dear departed prince of grocers, Dean & Deluca. And of course, the artist who once possessed this spice rack is Donald Judd, who lived a block away from the original store and was one of its first customers. Giorgio DeLuca was a close friend, and Judd would often send his kids to the palatial SoJo gourmet purveyor with gift certificates in hand.

But the quiz was a tricky one—this iteration of the spice rack is actually at the Block, Judd’s former home in Marfa, Texas, and not on Spring Street. The only reader to get that right is the perennial quiz champion, Brussels-based curator Louis-Philippe Van Eeckhoutte—congrats to you, sir! Everyone should read his wonderful article on the artist Kayode Ojo, published this week in Interview magazine.

A few runners up successfully named Judd but picked the wrong house. They are: collector and patron Scott Lorinsky; Sarah Goulet, the owner of Sarah Goulet Communications; and Dan Desmond, executive director of the Blue Rider Group at Morgan Stanley.

Here’s this week’s quiz. Name the artist who made this work, and the place where it is installed.

Send guesses to [email protected]. Hats are coming for the winners, these things take time, alas!



The future site of an Aspen pop-up. Photo courtesy Lehmann Maupin.

Lehmann Maupin is opening a pop-up gallery in Aspen alongside Carpenters Workshop, on East Hyman Avenue, right next to the Aspen Art Museum and catty-corner from the Almine Rech space—Rocky Mountain High! … Raymond Sackler has launched an extremely detailed website trying to convince people that his family did not actually have that much to do with the opioid crisis—the site is called Judge For Yourself and, by all means, you should do just that … Ignacio Mattos is putting the finishing touches on his Rockefeller Center cafe, Caffè Lodi, which will be a bakery and prepared food emporium that will also deliver faves from his hit downtown spots Estela and Cafe Altro Paradiso to Christie’s specialists and NBC pages …

A new cafe, under construction. Photo courtesy Instagram stories.

Fancy seated art dinners are back—we’ve gotten a swell of invites after a year without them and you know we love it, keep the invites coming … Gabriel Schachter is opening a pop-up show of drawings by his late brother Kai Schachter, who died of suicide in 2019—the show is at 208 Bowery until May 27 … A new issue of The Drunken Canal drops at the usual Dimes Square location, the newspaper box at Essex and Canal, this Saturday—look for a very special spread in collaboration with a certain fashion brand … There’s a Kickstarter to fund the last unrealized project of the great artist Martin Roth, who died in June 2019—he intended to build a plant garden in an historic home in Newburgh, New York, designed by Andrew Jackson Downing …

The interior of a house in Newburgh that was set to be turned into an artwork by Martin Roth. Photo courtesy Strongroom.

Apparently one of the world’s biggest George Condo collectors is, shit you not, Ringo StarrStella McCartney dishes on that and other art-world connections to her dad’s band in an interview with Gagosian magazine … Paul’s Casablanca, Paul Sevingy’s West Soho bar, will reopen on May 30, and the Morrissey will be spinning on the ones and twos … a mega-gallery may be flirting with the idea of an outpost in Austin, Texas, of all places … Global International Men’s Clothiers, the Orchard Street institution run by haberdasher Sammy Gluck—who famously hawked suits at Zach Feuer Gallery in 2013 as part of a Joel Mesler performance—is closing, and the landlord is offering the space for any use; maybe some ambitious gallerist should honor Sammy’s legacy by taking it over for a primo Lower East Side outpost …


*** Jasper Johns, looking pretty sprightly on a Zoom call to celebrate his 91st birthday *** Klaus Biesenbach and Patti Smith at the Rockaway Beach Uzbek restaurant Uma’s, where they ordered the carrot salad that they’re both obsessed with—if you have the time and inclination, you can go down the rabbit hole that is #carrotsaladatumas, I just hope that this is, like, the world’s greatest carrot salad, I mean it’s like, all they eat *** Alexander Skarsgard taking a break from filming Succession to grab a bite at Atla Saturday ***

Socially distanced art-world VIPs at Pier 52 by the Whitney to celebrate the opening of David Hammons’s Days End, which came complete with an on-the-water salute from the fire department *** Bob Dylan, who will have a survey of his visual art at the Frost Museum in Miami this winter, out and about in Santa Monica as captured by a Daily Mail shutterbug—apparently it’s his first time seen in public in a decade *** Artists Scott Covert and Peter McGough giving a talk at Off Paradise moderated by writer Randy Kennedy related to the Ray Johnson-themed show that’s up right now—there’s also a closing event Thursday May 27 *** A smattering of downtown writers, curators, and artists celebrating Kye Christensen Knowles’s insanely metal new show at Lomex with a dinner at Forlini’s *** Some terrifying NFT gallery opening on Canal Street, what a time to be alive ***

Who knows what this could be! Photo courtesy a tipster.


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