Keith Haring - New Now New York Tuesday, September 24, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Jeffrey Deitch, New York
    Jim Kempner Fine Art, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I think public sculpture should aggressively alter our perception of the environment in a positive way”

    Beginning with his earliest graffiti and through to the end of his tragically short but meteoric career, Keith Haring sought to connect with the general public and modernize the accessibility of art. Haring’s career was defined in equal measure by the democratized nature of its expression and also by his determined political and community oriented themes, touching upon the most impactful topics of the day, notably the AIDS crisis. Executed in 1989, just one year before his own tragic AIDS-related death, Untitled (Three Dancing Figures), Version A embodies the energy of an era heavily influenced by the activism for gay-rights and by the invigorated artistic community that was Keith Haring’s orbit.

    Although his time spent among the creative crowd of downtown New York was abbreviated, Haring’s outsized persona made an everlasting impression on the city and those around him. Known for his compassion, belief in equality, and innate ability to communicate across various cultural and economic backgrounds, Haring frequented Club 57, a local church basement hang where the New York counterculture came to dance, perform, and exchange ideas. After hosting an underground exhibition at the club in 1981, Haring was “discovered” by Andy Warhol and Tony Shafrazi who took his drawings from the subway and the street to the gallery. Here, Haring curated a community that reflected and supported his ideals and endeavors in art.

    Representative of this close-knit diverse community, Untitled (Three Dancing Figures), Version A shows a group of uniquely hued, faceless figures circled in energetic movement. The child-like flatness of the figures is as if his sketches were peeled off the page and expressed in a (barely) three-dimensional space. Garnering inspiration from break-dance culture and electronic music, Haring appreciated the coordination required by dancers who weave between and around one another with swift, animated movements. Turning this motion into sculpture and representing the energized culture of New York City, Haring intended for these large-scale works to be accessible and readily discernible depictions of bubbling vivacity to all who encounter them.

    Compelled to produce a high volume of work within a short period of time, Haring wished for his legacy to live on within people long after he was gone. His main support and focus was always on the various communities within which he participated – the gay community, the arts community, the downtown scene, and beyond. Now, on this 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots with many of the themes and problems that Haring addressed in his art still such a factor nearly two decades into the 21st century, one can clearly recognize the lasting impact he has had, and will continue to have, on our culture for years to come.

  • Artist Biography

    Keith Haring

    American • 1958 - 1990

    Haring's art and life typified youthful exuberance and fearlessness. While seemingly playful and transparent, Haring dealt with weighty subjects such as death, sex and war, enabling subtle and multiple interpretations. 

    Throughout his tragically brief career, Haring refined a visual language of symbols, which he called icons, the origins of which began with his trademark linear style scrawled in white chalk on the black unused advertising spaces in subway stations. Haring developed and disseminated these icons far and wide, in his vibrant and dynamic style, from public murals and paintings to t-shirts and Swatch watches. His art bridged high and low, erasing the distinctions between rarefied art, political activism and popular culture. 

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Property Of An Important New York Collector


Untitled (Three Dancing Figures), Version A

incised with the artist's signature "K. Haring" and stamped with the number, date and foundry mark "1989 3/5 acf" on the base
enamel on aluminum
45 1/2 x 76 1/2 x 55 3/4 in. (115.6 x 194.3 x 141.6 cm.)
Executed in 1989, this work is number 3 from an edition of 5 plus 1 artist's proof.

$600,000 - 800,000 

Contact Specialist
Sam Mansour
Associate Specialist, Head of New Now Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1219

New Now

New York Auction 24 September 2019