Keith Haring - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Thursday, May 14, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection
    Sotheby's, Amsterdam, Modern and Contemporary Art, November 26, 2002, lot 247
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    My contribution to the world is my ability to draw. I will draw as much as I can for as many people as I can for as long as I can. Drawing is still basically the same as it has been since prehistoric times. It brings together man and the world. It lives through magic.
    -Keith Haring

    Keith Haring became a prominent figure in New York’s East Village art scene of the 1970s and 1980s after receiving attention for the bold and energetic drawings and patterns he drew on the streets of the city and in the subways. The present lot, Untitled from 1984, is an excellent example of how Haring translated his earlier style, honed on the streets of the city, into stunning works on paper and canvas. He reduced his forms and ideas to the simplest primary element: a thick black line boldly outlining his subject matter. Foreshadowing his battle with AIDS, Haring explored darker themes throughout his oeuvre including serpents, monsters, fallen angels, and cannibals. Ostensibly smiling, the multi-ocular creature depicted here seemingly waves at the viewer using tentacle eyeballs with an unbroken gaze. What possible threat this figure represents is impossible to determine for sure, and rendered as it is in Haring’s quick, bold line, the impression it leaves is one of both interested wonder and cautious concern. Haring’s inimitable style is immediately apparent and lends the work an imprimatur and impressionability that is as captivating as the bizarre subject itself.

  • Artist Biography

    Keith Haring

    American • 1958 - 1990

    Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Keith Haring moved to New York City in 1978 at the age of 20 to study at the School of Visual Arts. By the early 1980s, Haring rose to prominence for his graffiti drawings made in the New York subways and streets. Alongside his friends Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf, who he met at the SVA, Haring became a leading figure of the East Village art scene through the 1970s and 1980s.

    Best known for his cartoon-like imagery developed through bold lines and vibrant colors, Haring refined a visual language of symbols that simplified forms to their most essential elements. Exploring the themes of birth and death, sex and war, social inequality, and love, his art bridged the high and low, erasing the distinctions between rarefied art, political activism, and popular culture. Despite his tragically brief career, Haring created a universal visual language embraced throughout the world, and his works are housed in many major collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, Ludwig Museum, Cologne, and Nakamura Keith Haring Collection in Hokuto, Japan.

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Sumi ink on paper
22 7/8 x 28 7/8 in. (58.1 x 73.3 cm)
Signed and dated "K. Haring Oct. 30 1984" on the reverse. This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by the Estate of Keith Haring.

$120,000 - 180,000 

Sold for $137,000

Contact Specialist
Kate Bryan
Head of Day Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1267

Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York Day Sale 15 May 2015 11am