Keith Haring - 20th Century & Contemporary Art: Online Auction, New York New York Thursday, December 7, 2023 | Phillips

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  • In 1986, Keith Haring painted a mural at Woodhull Hospital in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn as a gift to the hospital for its efforts to provide access to healthcare during the HIV/AIDS Crisis. One security guard assigned to supervise a prisoner in the hospital formed a friendship with Haring, often sharing meals and talking during breaks. Many visitors would come in to ask Haring for an autograph or doodle during his time at Woodhull. After signing and drawing for the visitors, the artist would offer to sign something for the security guard, who politely declined each time. On his last day at the hospital, Haring gave the guard five manila folders that he had either drawn on or placed a drawing in. The guard cherished the folders for many years until they were found by the guard’s child. The present lot represents the only one of these five to have survived the toddler’s artistic phase unscathed.  


    Haring’s mural at Woodhull was restored in 2018 and remains open to the public for viewing. It serves as an iconic monument of public art in Brooklyn to this day.


    Woodhull Hospital. Image: Randy Duchaine, Artwork: © Keith Haring Foundation 


    • Provenance

      Gifted by the artist to the present owner

    • 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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signed and dated "K. Haring 86 ⨁" lower center
marker on manila folder
9 x 14 3/4 in. (22.9 x 37.5 cm)
Executed in 1986.

Full Cataloguing

$10,000 - 15,000 

Sold for $33,020

Contact Specialist

Katerina Blackwood
Associate Specialist, Head of Online Sales, New York
20th Century & Contemporary Art
+1 212 940 1248

20th Century & Contemporary Art: Online Auction, New York

7 - 14 December 2023