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Julian Schnabel, Trees of Home (for Peter Beard) 1, 2020

Julian Schnabel, Trees of Home (for Peter Beard) 1, 2020 © Julian Schnabel Studio. Photo: Tom Powel Imaging. Courtesy the artist and Vito Schnabel Gallery.

Forty-five years ago, Julian Schnabel met Peter Beard, who died last April at 82. They became friends and eventually—in Montauk, Long Island—neighbors. Both artists loved the work of Vincent van Gogh (Schnabel made a film about the artist in 2018, At Eternity’s Gate), and the last time Schnabel saw Beard, they discussed Van Gogh’s paintings of the trees of Saint-Rémy. “He had already had a stroke and it was difficult for him to speak in that fluid way that he would wrap his mind around a thought and not relinquish it until it had been exhausted,” says Schnabel. “He wanted to show me the trees of Saint-Rémy in his Van Gogh book, that were exactly the trees in our film as well as the trees in Van Gogh’s paintings and Francis Bacon’s paintings of Van Gogh’s paintings.” But he couldn’t find the book. “Peter’s futile search, that afternoon, for that Van Gogh book, with those images, of those trees, is an indelible moment for me. His need was, the need for two friends that happened to be artists, to share the same thought, that same recognition at the same time.” These six new plate paintings see Van Gogh, Bacon, Beard, and Schnabel breathing together among the trees, while shards of porcelain suggest the shells and rocks of Beard’s beloved Montauk. —L.J.