182
182
Keith Haring
UNTITLED
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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.
400,000600,000
LOT SOLD. 975,000 GBP
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182
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.
400,000600,000
LOT SOLD. 975,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

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London

Keith Haring
1958 - 1990
UNTITLED
signed, signed with the artist's monogram, dated 1983 May 6 and inscribed NAPOLI on the overlap
acrylic on canvas
80 by 80 cm. 31 1/2 by 31 1/2 in.
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Provenance

Lucio Amelio, Naples 
Alessandro Grassi, Milan
Thence by descent to the present owner 

Exhibited

Prato, Centro Prato, Colour Code: Works from the Alessandro Grassi Collection, September - December 2018

Literature

Maria Cristina Mundici, Collezione Privata, Milan 1993, p. 249, illustrated in colour

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1983, Untitled embodies and celebrates a vivacious moment of converging social stratospheres in the vibrant zeitgeist of New York in the early eighties. This was the year that Haring met Madonna and Andy Warhol, and positioned himself as a standard bearer in the birth of early 80’s downtown culture. Emerging out of the schizophrenic nature of New York’s cultural scene at the end of the seventies, Haring’s parties and gallery openings brought together a brilliant synthesis of strikingly disparate social cliques from the gay dance club culture, to hip hop, wild-style graffiti, and rap scenes, to downtown punks and conceptual artists. The artist revered the many facets of New York’s burgeoning creative and social circles. Wherever Haring went, he brought with him a melting pot of New York’s vanguard culture. In Haring’s words: “all these worlds were coming together in a big mishmash of people that never really existed in a gallery before me” (Keith Haring cited in: Jeffrey Deitch, Suzanne Geiss, Julia Gruen, Ed.s, Keith Haring, New York 2008, p. 212). 

1983 was a significant year for the young Keith Haring. Just months before, the artist burst into the New York Art scene with his debut solo exhibition at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery, and by 1984 he was a household name, with solo shows in major Art institutions across the globe. 1983 marks the crystallisation of the artist’s mature style, bridging the gap between two distinct phases of his tragically brief artistic career.

With his instantly recognisable and highly legible forms, Haring entirely circumnavigated the traditional path from underground culture to mainstream popularity and art-world stardom. The artist’s remarkable application of Pop imagery and tabulated symbolic language succinctly captured the booming social culture of the downtown New York scene in the early eighties, and as such became immensely popular at breakneck speed. His signature lexicon of stick figures, crawling babies and barking dogs became ubiquitous through his subway drawings and public performances. As Haring took his signature hieroglyphic language to the streets, his practice vibrated with enthusiasm for a utopic, populist art form rooted in connection and community. Haring envisaged a universal, anti-elitist language of direct and simplified form rendered in exuberant popping primary colours. This was an art for the people.

Untitled stands as a relic of the optimism of this moment of Haring’s practice. Rendered in bold contoured lines of vibrant lime green, two androgynous human silhouettes greet one another with an embrace. The pared-down palette vibrates with chromatic intensity bouncing from wall to wall within the perfectly square borderline. Electrifying lines of primary red radiate from the figures, evoking a sense of celebration that reverberates in waves across this monolithic lemon-yellow canvas, pulsating in beams not limited to the surface of the picture plane but spilling  out to the viewer, with an infectious feeling of pure joy imbued with the spirit of the times. Untitled is a celebration of jovial coexistence. At once vibrantly expressive and lyrically balanced, the present work is brimming with a potent energy of optimism. Rendered in Haring’s brilliant, universal visual language, the figures pulsate with a sense of riotous glee and youthful exuberance perfectly reflective of this period of the artist’s carer. Untitled epitomises Haring’s brilliant ability to convey feeling and emotion through forms distilled to their most basic, essential components.

Contemporary Art Day Auction

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London