195
195

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION

Keith Haring
UNTITLED
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
1,000,0001,500,000
LOT SOLD. 2,295,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
195

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION

Keith Haring
UNTITLED
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
1,000,0001,500,000
LOT SOLD. 2,295,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York

Keith Haring
1958 - 1990
UNTITLED
signed and dated Nov. 18 1983 on the reverse 
vinyl paint on vinyl tarpaulin with metal grommets
72 3/4 by 72 1/4 in. 184.8 by 183.5 cm.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1984

Exhibited

New York, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, Keith Haring, December 1983 - January 1984

Literature

Germano Celant, Ed., Keith Haring, Munich 1992, cat. no. 41, illustrated in color

Catalogue Note

"The tarps were deceptively simple and graphic, and their imagery and palette predominated in Haring’s art over the next eight years in ambitious paintings, murals, and commercial products. As for color, the tarps reintroduced the commercial colors of sixties Pop and traffic signs. Typical were bold primaries (reds, yellows)...Haring painted thick, heavy lines with a velocity that flung a trail of drips over the surface."

Elisabeth Sussman in Exh. Cat., New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Keith Haring, 1997, p. 18

An electrifying composition of yellow, red, and black, Keith Haring’s Untitled from 1983 reveals the artist's remarkable application of Pop imagery and tabulated symbolic language as a mode of capturing the booming social culture of the downtown New York scene in the early eighties. Saturated in Haring's most iconic symbols, including the television, the barking dog and red Xs, Untitled bears witness to Haring’s belief in the power of art to not only reflect culture but also transform it. Having long considered himself a part of a radical new era in America, Haring harnessed art as a vehicle through which he could speak of and for his fellow generation. In Untitled, Haring relishes the electric culture of nightclubs, free love, and television while also hinting at or warning against the underlying menace of explosive culture and technologies—an underbelly that consisted of sex, drugs, and nuclear power. The brazen painterly abandon of the present work indeed elicits a sense of climatic convergence, as if we are transported to the dark basement of the East Village Mudd Club, where the kinetic energy of bodies accelerates in tandem with the pulsating beat of the percussion.

This vibrant work is notable for its exceptionally sumptuous yellow drips cascading and defining the red linear outlines. While Haring here deploys similar forms as in his famous subway chalk drawings, the nuanced balance between the expressiveness of his drips juxtaposed against the hard-edge linearity of his shapes exemplifies Haring’s mastery over the painterly medium, bridging his kitschy Pop iconography with the critical gravitas of Abstract Expressionism. At the epicenter of the present work, a centipede-like creature dominates a man on his knees, arms outstretched. Boasting a UFO as its head and a television in place of its hand, this monstrous creature upon further reflection is an anthropomorphized version of mass media. The large X on its body is Haring’s way of “tagging” this creature as a threat. Below the central altercation, Haring’s trademark barking dog emerges from the bottom left corner as another symbol of warning or imminent danger. Lines radiate from the dog’s mouth and multiply across the expanse of the picture plane in an effort to reinforce the movement, dancing, and raw vigor of the scene. These various symbols embedded in the present work portray an image of mass media physically taking dominion over humanity, leading towards a cultural explosion fueled by the thunderous growth of 1980s computer and television culture. Though Untitled is seeped in Haring’s thoughtful concern and reflection upon the radical socio-political and technological consciousness of his generation, it is nevertheless a fundamentally celebratory image that echoes his own proclamation: “I don’t think art is propaganda; it should be something that liberates the soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further. It celebrates humanity” (the artist in Keith Haring Journals, New York 2010, p. xiii).

Untitled epitomizes Haring’s brilliant ability to convey movement through forms distilled to their most basic, essential components. Here, Haring’s confident hand draws bold, self-assured strokes, eschewing a premeditated schematic plan for spontaneous genius. Never erasing or reworking, Haring’s gestural ingenuity flows directly through his brush onto the tarpaulin. Just as we can visualize Pollock vigorously taking paint to canvas, revealing his heroic genius with every gestural flair, Untitled analogously conjures Haring’s performance of painting—the ineluctable motion of the image parallels Haring’s own instinctive, primal dance with brush and canvas. Describing Haring’s painterly process as an outgrowth of his unstoppable passion for dancing, Robert Farris Thompson eloquently comments: “Bent over, barefoot and bare chested, [Haring] let his patterns take him where they would. He worked in a tight combination of order… and ecstasy, letting interlocking abstract patterns push, pull and jostle one another like excited dancers on a ballroom floor” (Robert Farris Thompson, “Notes in the Art and Life of Keith Haring,” in Exh. Cat., Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, Keith Haring: The Political Line, 2014, p. 47).

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York