Keith Haring - Contemporary Art London Thursday, June 21, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York

  • Exhibited

    Cologne, Galerie Paul Maenz, Keith Haring, May 3 - 30, 1984

  • Literature

    Gerd de Vries, ed., Paul Maenz Köln 1970–1980–1990. An Avant-garde Gallery
    and the Art of Our Time, Cologne, 1991, p. 128 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Vibrant, colourful, and aesthetically challenging, Untitled (Aztec Snake Godess) is a seminal work, touching upon Haring’s artistic and stylistic oeuvre to its fullest. Through shape and form, this painting is a prime example of the various cultures that had so profoundly influenced the artist’s body of work. In this Untitled piece from 1984, as the title reveals, Haring turns to the Aztec Culture for inspiration and finds himself visually recording it onto the canvas. This results in his use of specific stylistic features such as the crimson red concentric circles that are so reminiscent of the Aztec Empire. Together with his ‘Haringesque’ signature elements, such as the synthesis between line and colour, this work is monumental. It marks a shift in Haring’s painterly style, as his unique fusion between figuration and abstraction becomes more apparent – a fusion where ‘figure’ becomes distinct from the abstracted and ‘abstraction’ distinct from figuration, allowing each style to be powerful in its own way.

    Untitled (Aztec Snake Godess) is a painting that through its synergy and somewhat disjointed vocabulary oozes a sense of painterly harmony. It is a powerful work exemplifying Haring’s artistic awareness of symbolism and culture – it is a work that in its own right is a mesmerizing amalgamation of an historic past and an artistic presence.

  • 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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Untitled (Aztec Snake Goddess)

Acrylic on muslin.
60 x 60 in. (152.4 x 152.4 cm).
Signed and dated “K.Haring, April 12-1984” on the overlap.

£150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for £378,400

Contemporary Art

22 June 2007, 4pm & 5pm