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Julian Schnabel

Hector (1989) is representative of the broader oeuvre of the painter and filmmaker Julian Schnabel (b. 1951, New York) who, from the 1980s, employed found materials of a symbolic and historic nature. In this work, a piece of brown, unpainted canvas serves as a crude support for two rounded forms painted in white and arranged to create an effect of depth: one appearing to echo the other, albeit with a slight change of scale. A strip of embroidered fabric that was originally part of a canopy from a Spanish baroque church, occupies the space between. This central detail is also partly masked with a wide band of white paint.

The title, which has no obvious connection to the painting, could refer to the Trojan War hero Hector, but it could also refer to Hector Babenco (b. 1946, Mar del Plata – d. 2016, São Paulo), the Brazilian film director who was a friend of the artist. Through the use of unusual materials, large formats and a combination of thematic references, Schnabel seeks to bring strongly expressive and emotional qualities into the composition. Evocative forms, historically charged elements and evocative titles create a work whose meaning is layered yet open.


  1. Julian Schnabel Hector, 1989

    Technique mixte sur bâche
    335 x 498 cm
    Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Acquisition 1997
    Apport FOCUNA
    © Photo : Rémi Villaggi

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