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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 1988

  • Catalogue Essay

    Keith Haring's arrival in Milan in 1984, at the invitation of fashion designer Elio Fiorucci and art dealer Salvatore Ala, was an extraordinary event. In the mid-eighties Haring represented the peak of a new wave of artists. His art was addressing underground culture and focusing on an issue that would transform the nightlife of New York and around the world: the AIDS epidemic. Vibrant, fresh and committed to his own generation, Haring was able to reach many different audiences at the same time. Haring is arguably more iconic than anybody else within his generation - his visual language is immediately unmistakable, like the golden arches of of McDonalds or the curvaceous script of Coca-Cola. Haring's capacity to communicate transformed his art into a marketing tool for the culture of those years.

    In Milan, the core of the night life was a club called Plastic - run by the charismatic figure of Nicola Guiducci. Guiducci was a DJ and entrepreneur who made Plastic the place to be for writers, photographers, fashion designers and artists. The affinity between Haring and Guiducci was natural as they both shared the same energy. Every night when Keith Haring had finished working on his exhibition at Salvatore Ala Gallery he went to Plastic to hang out until dawn with his partner and friend Guiducci. While DJing, Guiducci's body language resembled one of Haring's figures- hectic, happy and full of open desires. The exchanges between Haring and Guiducci became deeper and deeper both at a cultural and creative level. Nicola Guiducci became a regular at Haring’s studio in lower Manhattan and in 1988 during one of Guiducci’s visits Haring gifted him with the present lot. The image, in its essential form, reflects symbolically the fecundity (both sexual and artistic) that the two friends were sharing. Guiducci remembers that once he accepted the gift he had to carry it through Soho and the Lower East Side like a sandwich man advertising the art of his friend. An image that very much matches the spirit of Haring moving around among people, sharing his power and message to heal and change the illnesses of the society.

    In Haring’s mind, like an artist from a Paleolithic cave, a man blooming out of a phallus was the most effective symbol for regeneration and creativity. Through his work Keith Haring was professing his belief that through the intercourse between art and people a happier world could be created and healed from the evils of repression and hypocrisy.

  • 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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10

Untitled

signed, titled and dedicated '© K Haring 88 May 1988, "FOR NICOLA WITH LOVE + ADMIRATION - Keith"' on the overlap
acrylic on canvas
126 x 97 cm (49 5/8 x 38 1/4 in.)
Painted in 1988.

Estimate
£300,000 - 400,000 

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

Henry Highley
Head of Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 5 October 2016