|Julian Schnabel between van Gogh and himself.|
However, after seeing Schnabel’s curation of paintings from the museum’s collections side by side with his own, I realized how quick I am to jump to conclusions about the art in the Musée d’Orsay. Because the Monets, Manets Van Goghs and Courbets find their way on to placemats, tea towels, silk scarves and mouse pads, I think I have seen them all too often. However, these images are poor reproductions that should not be associated with their originals. Indeed, Schnabel gives us a whole new perspective on a number of works by the museum’s celebrated artists. And in this, he offers a new perspective on the works themselves, and along the way, on the history of art, and on historical art.
|Carolus-Duran, Le Convalescent, vers 1860|
|Henri Fantin-Latour, Chrysanthèmes dans un vase, 1873|
It was unclear to me if Schnabel had chosen to bring the pain and suffering of men, and their consequent tragedy, into the foreground because this is the emotional narrative that best gets to the most profound levels of being human. Put differently, does Schnabel focus on the tragedy of male life for its ability to access something profound about the history of art? Or is he simply drawn to the tragedy of absence, despair and death that he believes weighs on his gender?
|Julian Schnabel, Artaud (Starting to Sing Part 3), 1981|