ARTnewsletter Archive

Keith Haring Show Spotlights Artist’s Early Drawings

The Woodward Gallery, on Man­hattan’s Lower East Side, is currently exhibiting works by Keith Haring (1958–90) created between 1981 and 1985.

NEW YORK—The Woodward Gallery, on Man­hattan’s Lower East Side, is currently exhibiting works by Keith Haring (1958–90) created between 1981 and 1985. On view through Oct. 30, the show also includes artifacts related to the years before the artist gained renown as a leader of the graffiti art movement. Haring died of AIDS at the age of 32.

“Almost none of the works in this show have been exhibited before,” gallery owner Kristine Woodward told ARTnewsletter. The artworks come either from Woodward’s own collection or have been consigned from private collections, and prices range from $75,000 to $1 million.

Only two of the works in the show have been exhibited in the past: Media Heads, 1985, from the collection of newsprint magnate and renowned contemporary-art collector Peter Brant, which was part of the 1997 Whitney Museum Haring retrospective and is priced at $225,000, and the four-panel blueprint Jumpers Running from Spaceship, 1981, which was included in the Queens Museum of Art’s 1990 “Future Primeval” show and is priced at $450,000.

Other objects in the show include a 1981 guest book from the Mudd Club that contains a caricature of Haring by Jean-Michel Basquiat and the signatures of a variety of the Tribeca nightclub’s well-known guests (including Fab 5 Freddie, Futura 2000, Richard Hambleton and Andy Warhol) and a door from Haring’s 1981 studio with the tags of several graffiti artists.

The works for sale in the show include nine chalk drawings on black paper priced in the range of $75,000/250,000; a spray-enamel on canvas, priced at $600,000; a spray-enamel on wood, priced at $500,000, and four four-part sculptural works from an edition of 30, all titled Pyramid, 1989, consisting of screen prints on anodized aluminum, priced at $350,000.

Some lower-priced items are also featured, including an exhibition poster for “Beyond Words,” a 1981 show at the Mudd Club gallery ($1,000); a spray-painted ceramic vase, 2009, by fellow graffiti artist LA II, priced at $6,000; and a 2009 edition of ten prints of a 1981 photograph by Hank O’Neal—made for this exhibition—of a Haring work in a New York City subway station, priced at $3,500 each. Several works from the lower-priced offerings have already been sold to private collectors in the United States and Europe, Woodward told ARTnewsletter.

A year before his death, Haring established the Keith Haring Foundation, which uses the proceeds from sales of artworks to provide funding for a range of AIDS-related and other nonprofit and charitable organizations. No single gallery represents the estate; the foundation works with various galleries on specific exhibitions, such as the one at the Woodward Gallery.

Haring’s artworks have been included in public sales on numerous occasions since his death, often producing strong results. The top auction price for the artist’s work is $2.8million, paid at Christie’s in New York in 2007 for an untitled 12-by-12-foot vinyl ink on tarpaulin work, 1982, depicting a figure with a succession of dogs jumping through a hole in its torso (estimate: $800,000/1.2million).

Other top auction prices include $2.2million, paid at Sotheby’s in 2007 for the acrylic on canvas Tree of Life, 1985 (estimate: $1.4 million/1.8 million); and $1.8million, paid at Christie’s in 2008 for the acrylic on canvas Andy House—New Coke, 1985 (estimate: $1.8 million/2.5 million).