October 10, 2014 - NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale - Café Dolly: Picabia, Schnabel, Willumsen
October 10, 2014

Café Dolly: Picabia, Schnabel, Willumsen

Left: Francis Picabia, Autoportrait, circa 1940–42. Oil on cardboard. Courtesy of private collector. © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Center: Julian Schnabel, Large Girl with No Eyes, 2001. Oil and wax on canvas. Collection of the artist. © 2014 Julian Schnabel/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Right: J.F. Willumsen, Woman Playing with a Black Cat, 1945. Oil on canvas. J.F. Willumsens Museum. © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York /

Café Dolly: Picabia, Schnabel, Willumsen
October 12, 2014–February 1, 2015

NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale
One East Las Olas Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, Florida  33301
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 11am–5pm, 
Thursday 11am–8pm, Sunday noon–5pm 

T +1 954 525 5500


Bringing together the work of French artist Francis Picabia (1879–1953), American artist Julian Schnabel (b. 1951), and Danish artist Jens Ferdinand Willumsen (1863–1958) for the first time in the United States, the exhibition Café Dolly: Picabia, Schnabel, Willumsen reveals surprising connections between stylistic and painterly concerns that span generations and geography.

Featuring approximately 75 paintings, Café Dolly presents works dating from 1926 to 1951 by French artist Picabia, whose contributions to the avant-garde Dada and Surrealist movements are widely known, but whose paintings from his later figurative period remain relatively obscure in the United States. The exhibition also includes paintings from the late 1980s to the present by New York artist Julian Schnabel, including works on a collaged surface of broken plates, resin-coated figurative paintings, enormous canvases based on paintings found in thrift stores, and paintings that conflate figuration and abstraction. In addition, the exhibition includes paintings from the late 19th to mid-20th century by visionary Danish artist J. F. Willumsen. 

Each artist’s work conveys an intensely painterly language with recognizable motifs, clear contours, and raw colors in bold combinations, along with a need to explore and challenge the tradition of painting. The three artists’ work with figuration, narrative, and portraiture during periods dominated by abstraction has at times made them controversial. These hybrid paintings demonstrate alternative paths of modern art and the progress of painting in the 20th century.

Bonnie Clearwater, Director and Chief Curator, NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, explains, “Comparing and contrasting these three artists heightens our understanding of their entire body of work as each challenges conventional notions of taste, style, and categorization.” 

The exhibition’s title references the world’s first cloned sheep, Dolly, whose birth in 1996 sparked international controversy and called into question cultural ideas about ethics and materiality. In a visual arts context, Picabia, Schnabel, and Willumsen challenge the same concepts in their unprejudiced treatment of the traditions of art history and mass media images as well as private photographs and stories.

Café Dolly: Picabia, Schnabel, Willumsen is organized by the J.F. Willumsens Museum, Frederikssund, Denmark, where it was on view from September to December 2013, and was honored by the AICA (International Association of Art Critics), Denmark. The exhibition, which will showcase additional works by Julian Schnabel and Francis Picabia in the Fort Lauderdale presentation, is curated by visual artists Claus Carstensen and Christian Vind, as well as Ann Gregersen, PhD., researcher at the University of Copenhagen.   

Café Dolly is supported by Brickell Flatiron, the Andrew J. and Christine Hall Foundation, Inc., Sandra and Steven Muss, and W Fort Lauderdale.

About NSU Museum of Art
Founded in 1958, NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale is a premier destination for exhibitions and programs encompassing all facets of civilization’s visual history. Located midway between Miami and Palm Beach in downtown Fort Lauderdale’s arts district, the museum’s distinctive 83,000-square-foot modernist building, which opened in 1986 was designed by renowned architect Edward Larrabee Barnes and contains over 25,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 256-seat auditorium, museum store and café. Bonnie Clearwater, who became NSU Museum of Art’s Director and Chief Curator in 2013, directs the museum’s international exhibition program. Studio instruction is offered by the museum’s acclaimed AutoNation Academy of Art + Design. In 2008, the museum became part of Nova Southeastern University, one of the largest private research universities in the United States. 


NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale presents Café Dolly: Picabia, Schnabel, Willumsen
NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale
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