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Rare Works From Keith Haring's Personal Collection

A once-in-a-lifetime sale of Keith Haring's personal works with all proceeds benefiting the LGBTQ community.

© Keith Haring Foundation. Polaroids, The Keith Haring Foundation Archives

Artist and activist Keith Haring, who died in 1990 from HIV/AIDS-related causes, was a defining voice of 1970s and 80s New York. He was also a prolific art collector and traded amongst his friends in the artist community, including Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf, and many more.

This month, from 24 September- 1 October, a collection of 140+ works from his personal collection will go on sale through Sotheby's Auction House New York and the Keith Haring Foundation, an organisation he established shortly before his death. The auction, titled, Dear Keith: Works from the Personal Collection of Keith Haring will appear at exhibition together with revealing never-before-told stories about Haring’s community and bringing to life the celebrated art scene of 1970s and 80s New York – from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) and Club 57 to street art and beyond.

Roy Lichtenstein, Forms in Space © Keith Haring Foundation

All works are appearing for the first time with estimates starting at US$100, presenting collecting opportunities at all levels. The auction coincides with the 30th anniversary of his death. 

One hundred percent of the foundation’s proceeds will go to benefit the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center of New York (The Center), for which Haring created a large-scale mural in 1989. It is an organization that empowers the queer community of New York to lead healthy, successful lives; celebrates the community’s diversity and advocates for justice and opportunity.

Inside Haring's Laguardia apartment (c) Nancy Elizabeth Hill

During his 10+ years living and working in downtown Manhattan, Haring was engaged in the queer / downtown art and activism scene. He executed one of his final large-scale murals, Once Upon a Time, in the second-floor men’s bathroom at The Center in May 1989 for The Center Show – a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that featured works by LGBTQ artists commissioned by The Center. That mural stands to this day. 

Haring's mural in the LGBTQ Center

Harrison Tenzer, Head of Sotheby's Contemporary Art Online Sales in New York, said: “Dear Keith spotlights the diverse community of artists whose unique visions inspired Keith throughout his life. The collection is remarkably autobiographical, just as any great collector’s estate is a window into their individual perspective. We see the progression of Keith’s life captured in these works, from those of his childhood friend Kermit Oswald, to SVA peers John Sex and Kenny Scharf, to fellow upstart Jean-Michel Basquiat, to graffiti writers Futura 2000 and Lee Quiñones, to his heroes Andy Warhol, Pierre Alechinsky and William Burroughs, who he collaborated with during his meteoric rise to fame. Together they illuminate a culturally fertile era in which artists and activists worked closely together to create a world that was more inclusive than the one they were born into. I am deeply honored that the Keith Haring Foundation has entrusted Sotheby’s with this momentous opportunity to celebrate Keith’s continuing legacy, and I am proud that the sale will benefit The Center’s important work.”