Julian Schnabel is eating a chocolate croissant for breakfast, but can’t stop pointing at paintings while he talks. The famed New York artist and filmmaker—whose most recent film, At Eternity’s Gate, is centered around Vincent Van Gogh’s final days—is in Paris for his exhibition opening at the Musée d’Orsay. Orsay Through the Eyes of Julian Schnabel, which runs until January 13, 2019, features Schnabel’s own paintings alongside the great artists in the museum’s art collection, from Vincent Van Gogh’s Portrait of an Artist from 1889 (valued at $71m in 1998) to Paul Cézanne’s Achille Emperaire alongside works by Toulouse- Lautrec, Manet and Courbet. These masterpieces are shown alongside Schnabel’s plate paintings to his Rose Painting (Near Van Gogh’s Grave) to his velvet paintings from the 1980s and even a bronze sculpture of his father’s head. But why? We asked him. Schnabel spoke to Whitehot about Francis Bacon, bullfighters and why he really made a film about Van Gogh.