DescriptionKeith Haring (1958-1990)
Acrylic on canvasboard
11 x 14 inches (27.9 x 35.6 cm)
Signed twice, inscribed, and dated verso: Keith Haring Kutztown 230 S. Whiteoak, Dec. 29-81, K. Haring
Christie's, New York, First Open Post-War and Contemporary Art, September 23, 2009, lot 26;
Guy Hepner, West Hollywood, California;
Private collection, United Kingdom;
Phillips de Pury, London, October 11, 2012, lot 156;
Private collection, New York.
"I don't think art is propaganda; it should be something that liberates the soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further. It celebrates humanity instead of manipulating it." Keith Haring
Keith Haring's brief but illustrious career, which spanned the 1980s, began with a childhood interest in cartoon figures lifted from Pop culture created by Dr. Seuss, Walt Disney, and other illustrators of the genre. As a young child his father made him sketch characters from comic strips, through this early learning and his own experiences Haring was able to create his own unique visual language. Drawing inspiration from Andy Warhol and his contemporary Jean-Michel Basquiat, Haring believed that art constituted the ultimate expression of individuality. Haring's works were featured in over one hundred solo and group exhibitions, and received tremendous press and media attention. Not only is an artist, Haring remembered as an influential social activist who responded to sexuality, death and war.
The present work employs Haring's instantly recognizable, culturally pervasive pictorial language of bold contoured lines, graphic figures and barking dogs. Completed a year before his now famous one man show at Tony Shafrazi Gallery in 1982, this painting was made during a time of thriving alternative art communities which developed outside the gallery and museum system. One of many themes apparent in Haring's work is that of sexuality. In much of Haring's work he aimed to depict the stigma associated with homosexual relationships in an aesthetically interesting and captivating manner. Seen in this respect the current work challenges the viewer's own sensibilities and clearly demonstrates both of Haring's social and personal influences while using his innovative artistic language.
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