Lot 12
  • 12

Keith Haring

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Description

  • Keith Haring
  • Untitled
  • Signed and dated July 11 1982 on the overlap
  • Sumi ink on paper mounted on linen
  • 180 by 318 cm, 71 by 125 1/8 in.
  • Executed in 1982.

Provenance

Salvatore Al, Italy
Private Collection, Europe
Private Collection, United States

Exhibited

Bologna, Galeria d'Arte Moderna; Milano, Sagrato del Duomo; Rome, Palazzo delle espozizioni; Arte di Frontiera: New York Graffiti, March - September 1984
Turin, Castello di Rivoli, Museo d'arte contemporanea; Malmö, Malmö Konsthall; Hamburg, Deichtorhallen; Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Keith Haring, February 1994 - February 1995
Milan, Fondazione Triennale di Milano, The Keith Haring Show, September 2005 - January 2006, pp. 346-347, illustrated in color

Catalogue Note

Keith Haring, born 1958 in Pennsylvania, is one of America’s globally recognised mural artists, as well as a prominent social activist of the late 20th century. His life, while short, embodied the ideals of public painting, making art accessible to a wide range of people, and putting forth a message in his works about complex subjects ranging from sexuality, AIDS, and death, to politics and childcare.
Haring’s career stemmed from humble beginnings when he started drawing cartoons under the influence of his father. After completing school in New York, he befriended fellow artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat who shared an interest in graffiti art and unconventional art production, and organised art exhibitions in alternative clubs. In 1980, his burgeoning career came about ironically by making numerous drawings in the New York subway, using chalk on black panels to portray dancing figures, flying saucers, and figures with televisions for heads. These graffiti drawings caused Haring to be arrested for vandalism multiple times. Nonetheless, his career would not be stalled and his fame in the 1980s soared exponentially.
The strong lines and bright colours of his art made it accessible to a huge audience, and this theme of accessibility got extended further in his opening of a store, the Pop Shop in New York, selling inexpensive items with Haring’s designs. He remained focused on social activism and art on a global scale, however. He painted a mural on the western side of the Berlin wall three years before its fall, he created a mural for the hundredth anniversary of the Statue of Liberty in 1986, he drew for numerous hospitals, and became politically active, designing a Free South Africa poster in 1985. Openly homosexual, his works expectedly incorporated the theme in traumatic forms such as skeletons or other frightening juxtapositions. When he was diagnosed with AIDS in 1988, AIDS and death became a key focus of his art and social activism. Many of his seminal works feature these themes.
The artist died at the age of 31 due to AIDS complications. Haring was quoted to say: “I don’t know if I have five months or five years, but I know my days are numbered. This is why my activities and projects are so important now. To do as much as possible as quickly as possible.” And therein lies the essence of Haring’s legacy.
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