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She Mistook Kindness for Weakness (SMKFW)

Modern and Contemporary Art

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She Mistook Kindness for Weakness (SMKFW)

Artwork Details


Julian Schnabel
American, born 1951




Oil and modeling paste on velvet

Accession #



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Currently Not on View


Laden with personal symbols and obscure historical references, She Mistook Kindness for Weakness belongs to a series of paintings on velvet Schnabel made in the mid- to-late 1980s. His use of black velvet evokes the popular vernacular form of painting on velvet sold to tourists in Mexican border towns, including Brownsville, Texas, Schnabel’s hometown. The thick paint on soft velvet has an aura of decadent sensuality to it. The painting is inscribed with the title’s acronym, SMKFW. Although cryptic, the title—like the stuffed rabbit depicted—seems menacing.


The Lenore and Burton Gold Collection of 20th-Century Art

Image Copyright

© 2019 Julian Schnabel/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York