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KEITH HARING (1958-1990)
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This lot has been imported from outside of the UK … Read more PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION
KEITH HARING (1958-1990)

King and Queen

KEITH HARING (1958-1990)
King and Queen
enamel on steel
50 x 39 1/2 x 39 1/2in. (127 x 100.3 x 100.3cm.)
Executed in 1987-1988, this work is number three from an edition of three
Galerie Hans Mayer, Düsseldorf.
Private Collection, Germany.
Anon. sale, Christie’s New York, 11 November 2004, lot 432.
Private Collection, New York (acquired at the above sale).
Thence by descent to the present owner.
G. Celant (ed.), Keith Haring, Munich 1992, no. 5 (another from the edition illustrated, p. 25).
Rivoli, Castello di Rivoli, Museo d'arte contemporanea, Keith Haring, 1994-1997, p. 219, no. 114 (another from the edition exhibited; illustrated in colour, p. 190). This exhibition later travelled to Malmö, Malmö Konsthall; Hamburg, Deichtorhallen; Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Madrid, Fundación "la Caixa"; Vienna, Kunst Haus Wien and Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art.
Luxembourg, Dexia Banque Internationale a Luxembourg, Keith Haring Luxembourg, 2007 (another from the edition exhibited; illustrated in colour, pp. 59 and 205).
Special notice
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

Brought to you by

Anna Touzin
Anna Touzin Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Executed between 1987 and 1988, King and Queen is a magnificent example of the figurative steel cut-outs that Keith Haring created during the final years of his career. Rendered in jet-black enamel on steel, two freestanding figures embrace in a complex dance of positive and negative space. The taller figure’s body rises in a concertina, perforated with three holes and encircled by its partner’s arms. The lower figure’s head emerges on a stem from the first figure’s body, swooping through a hole in its own midsection. Featured in his posthumous retrospective at the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Castello di Rivoli in 1994, King and Queen sees Haring's idiomatic urban figures translated into three dimensions. ‘[Sculpture] has a kind of power that a painting doesn’t have,’ Haring said in 1988. ‘You can’t burn it. It would survive a nuclear blast probably. It has this permanent, real feeling that will exist much, much longer than I will ever exist, so it’s a kind of immortality’ (K. Haring quoted in D. Drenger, ‘Art and Life: An Interview with Keith Haring’, Columbia Art Review, Spring 1988, p. 49).

Haring’s official debut as a sculptor took place in October 1985 when, encouraged by his gallerist Tony Shafrazi to ‘put [his] alphabet in the landscape, out there in the real world’, he exhibited a series of vividly lacquered steel figures at Shafrazi and Leo Castelli’s galleries in New York (T. Shafrazi, quoted in Keith Haring: Sculptures, Paintings and Works on Paper, exh. cat. Ben Brown Fine Arts, London 2005, p. 22). Haring wanted the exhibition to emulate the atmosphere of a school playground, and invited groups of children to play with and climb over his sculptures. Complementing his works on canvas and paper, Haring developed his sculptural practice further over the next five years, his increasingly large cut-outs offering a materialisation of the characters he had first depicted across the walls and subway ads of New York City. By the time he created the present work, in which he abandons colour for a simpler, more pared-back design, Haring was employing the medium with supreme confidence. One of few works to carry a formal title, King and Queen is a majestic example of the autonomous three-dimensional language that came to define Haring’s late practice.

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