Contemporary Art Online | New York

Contemporary Art Online | New York

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 185. Untitled.

Dear Keith: Works from the Personal Collection of Keith Haring

David Bowes


No reserve

Lot Closed

July 21, 07:03 PM GMT


100 - 200 USD

Lot Details


David Bowes



signed, dated 1988, and inscribed For Keith on the overlap

oil on canvas

22 by 20 in.  (55.9 by 50.8 cm.)

Estate of Keith Haring, New York (gift of the artist in 1988)

The Keith Haring Foundation (by bequest from the above in 1990) 

Enchantingly mystical and delightfully surreal, Untitled by David Bowes is a remarkable early example of the artist’s unique painterly style. Executed in 1988, following a period of extensive travel and experimentation for the artist, the present work combines elements of mythology, allegory, and historical reference that would come to characterize Bowes’s practice. Evocative of the Symbolist works of Odilon Redon that had deeply inspired the artist from a young age, Untitled displays the same witty imagery and pointed playfulness that also defines the work of Bowes’s peer and friend, Keith Haring, and fits elegantly within his collection.

Bowes first met Haring in 1982, while living and working in the East Village; they were part of the same artistic community and had many friends in common. At Haring’s suggestion, Bowes began showing work with the Tony Shafrazi Gallery, and Haring admired his paintings so much he requested an exchange of works. In 1988, Bowes visited Haring’s studio to make the trade: “Keith’s studio was full of light the sunny day I brought the painting to him. On the floor were dozens of wonderful new works in black paint on white paper, organized row on row in a giant square. We looked at those and talked about them. He was just back from a stay in Paris and we talked about the different ways his time there showed up in his drawings. Keith liked my little painting and the way it seemed to rhyme in a funny way with one Brion Gysin had given him. He went and found that and we looked at the two together - similar in size with circle forms on a yellow ground.”

In the end, Haring was so enamored of Untitled that he exchanged “the best” paper collage work he had for it, and Bowes’s work remained in his collection as an inspiration and as a symbol of the two artists’ friendship.