Harmonic Convergence: When Julian Met Plácido
Julian Schnabel paints portraits the way the old masters did, starting with a dark background and then layering on light and color. Where the masters varnished their pictures, Mr. Schnabel sometimes coats his with resin. The main difference is that the old masters took weeks or even months to complete a portrait, and Mr. Schnabel can finish one in several hours, which, even allowing for several centuries’ worth of inflation, makes for a much sweeter payday.
On Thursday Mr. Schnabel painted Peddrick Sheffer, a truck driver from York, Pa., who had won a Schnabel portrait as part of the MasterCard “priceless” campaign. (Or not quite priceless: the contest rules estimated the value of the painting at $350,000.) He played some Willie Nelson tunes to put Mr. Sheffer at ease and also tried to talk him into voting for Barack Obama. “I told him, ‘If you like my work, trust me on this,’ ” Mr. Schnabel said.( Collapse )