Keith Haring’s original, signed works are coveted by museums and collectors, and are becoming increasingly difficult to find.
The Mural at Grace House
Keith Haring’s generous spirit and his desire to share his art and promote art education for young students, led to his creation of murals for children at schools and hospitals. One of his most famous murals was done in 1987 at the Necker Children’s Hospital in Paris, but not all of Haring’s work was so public.
A mural that Haring made at Grace House, a Catholic Youth Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, will be auctioned later this month and is expected to bring between $3 million to $5 million.
Grace House is part of the Ascension Parish Church, and first served as a convent, then the Youth Center and, finally, a residence. Around 1984, Keith Haring became friends with some of the young people at the Youth Center, who invited him to paint a mural in the building.
In a recent New York Times interview, Gary Mallon, who was the director of the youth center and lived in Grace House said, “He had a can of black paint in his hand and a black, kind of a thick brush, and he just started with that radiant baby on the first floor and then just worked his way up. We followed him, and I remember saying, ‘Ooh, it’s dripping,’ and he said, ‘That’s O.K. It’s supposed to drip.’”
The church has decided to sell the building, which is over 90 years old, and use the money for church repairs. The figures from the Grace House Mural will be auctioned at Bonhams, New York later this month.
Thinking that the new buyers might gut Grace House and destroy the mural, the church spent about $900,000 to extract it. The thirteen figures that make up the mural were extracted separately. Each piece of painted plaster was detached from the heavy terra-cotta wall. A single figure weighs up to a thousand pounds. The Ascension Parish Church will make a donation to the Keith Haring Foundation from the auction proceeds.
Crack is Wack is Coming Back
In 1986, at the hight of the crack epidemic, Keith Haring’s friend, Bobby Soto, was struggling with addiction and help was not readily available. Soto’s plight spurred Haring to create an enormous mural in East Harlem, adjacent to the Harlem River Drive.
Just as he was finishing the mural, police drove by and gave him a summons for defacing public property. The Parks Department covered the mural with grey paint. There was a public outcry and the Parks Department asked Haring to repaint it.
It has weathered over the years and was covered when reconstruction began on the Drive in 2015. It’s now being restored and, although there is no planned ceremonial unveiling, it will be finished and on display again, very soon.
The Works of Keith Haring at the Surovek Gallery
Instantly recognizable images, like Double Man and other original, signed fine art prints by Keith Haring are available at Surovek Gallery.
Please contact us if you would like more information about work by Keith Haring, or any of the other fine art, available at Surovek Gallery.
Nancy Coleman. Keith Haring Mural Cut Out of New York Stairwell Heads to Auction. The New York Times. October 18, 2019.
Stav Ziv. The Lost Keith Haring Mural in Manhattan. Newsweek. September 15, 2016.
Valentina Di Liscia. Keith Haring’s Iconic East Harlem Mural, “Crack Is Wack,” Is Back. Hyperallergic. October 30, 2019.