Keith Haring Originals: Lost and Found

In the early 1980s, before artists were more often arrested than commissioned by cities to paint on public spaces, Keith Haring was opening the doors to make art more accessible to the public.

Keith Haring drawing on the New York Subway.

Between 1980 and 1985, Haring created as many as forty drawings a day in New York subways. People stopped to watch, some spoke with him and, eventually, his simple drawings of people, space ships, TVs, animals and a barking dog became instantly recognizable. Keith Haring, like other graffiti artists, need a tag, a signature to attest that the work was done by his hand, and the dog became his tag.

Keith Haring
Barking Dog, 1990
Silkscreen with embossing
21 x 25 inches
Edition 113/250
Signed overs by Julien Gruen, Executor of the Haring Estate
For sale at Surovek

Keith Haring Originals Lost

Haring quickly gained global recognition as a fine artist. In 1986 he was invited by Arbeitsgemeinschaft, a group in West Berlin that monitored human rights violations in East Germany, to paint a mural on the Berlin Wall.

The project, though public, was not without peril. Haring painted part of the mural on the first six feet on the West Berlin side that belonged to East Berlin. When East Berlin border guards, peering over the wall as he worked, threatened to arrest him for defacing property of the East German government and entering the country without a visa, Haring would leap onto West Berlin soil and then return to finish what he had begun.

Keith Haring painting the Berlin Wall, 1983.

Three years later, the government began to allow citizens to cross the wall, and demolition of the wall was begun in 1990 and completed in 1992. Another Keith Haring original was destroyed, but the memory of his humanitarian gesture remains.

Keith Haring created murals in Rome in 1984, as part of an exhibition at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni. He did a wonderful mural on the Via Milano side of the museum, of his barking dog chasing running figures up the museum stairs. The mural remained in tact until 1992, when Franco Carraro, then mayor of Rome, had it removed before a visit by Russian president Michail Gorbachev. Other Keith Haring original works were painted over or removed over there years in cities around the world.

Keith Haring’s long-lost mural at Palazzo delle Esposizioni. Photo Stefano Fontebasso De Martin.

Fortunately, many of the more than fifty public murals that he was commissioned to do between 1982 and 1989, still remain.

Keith Haring Originals

Keith Haring’s original style, his clean lines and easily identifiable images, have made him a cultural icon. Part of his legacy is the Keith Haring Foundation, which not only supports not-for-profit organizations that assist children, as well as organizations involved in education, research and care related to AIDS, but maintains and protects his art and archives.

Keith Haring
Man on a Dolphin, 1987
Lithograph
29 1/2 x 35 3/8 inches
Edition: 113/170
Pencil signed and numbered
For sale at Surovek

Keith Haring Originals Found at Surovek Gallery

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