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Sotheby’s Keith Haring Collection Auction Collects $4.6 Million

A Sotheby’s Keith Haring Collection sale has tripled its estimated revenue at $4.6 million. Here’s what you need to know about its top-selling pieces.

warhol-keith-haring-basquiat-untitled-installation-portrait-featured
Detail from Untitled by Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ramellzee, Fab 5 Freddy, Futura, Zephyr, Haze, Sniper, CHI-193 and Chino, 1981, via Sotheby’s (left); with Portrait of Keith Haring and Juan Dubose by Andy Warhol, 1983, via Sotheby’s (right)

 

An online sale of a Keith Haring collection at Sotheby’s has more than tripled its pre-sale estimate of $1.4 million, accumulating a total of $4.6 million in sales. This was spread across 144 lots, all of which were sold, gaining ‘white glove’ status in auction terms. The sale, titled “Dear Keith: Works from the Personal Collection of Keith Haring,” was announced last month by the Keith Haring Foundation and will give full proceeds to the New York LGBTQ+ Community Center

 

The Keith Haring Sale Was Accessible

 

The Sotheby’s sale contained works that were accessible to a wide range of bidders. Lots by top contemporary artists were offered without reserve and held at estimates as low as $100, which encouraged younger buyers to participate. This kept the bidding process active until the very end of the Keith Haring sale on September 30th and brought in a 50% ratio of new clients. It also contained works that were exchanged between Keith Haring and the East Village art scene, featuring numerous pop-culture references from the 1980s.

 

Highest Sotheby’s Lots Sold For Over $500,000 Each

roy-lichtenstein-forms-in-space-print-keith-haring
Forms in Space by Roy Lichtenstein, 1985, via Sotheby’s

 

One of the most expensive works at the Sotheby’s Keith Haring sale was a 1981 collaborative piece by Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ramellzee, Fab Five Freddy, Futura, Zephyr, Haze, Sniper, CHI-193 and Chino, made up of 19 Plexiglass slates and decorated with drawings. It sold for $504,000, more than 4 times its high estimate of $120,000. 

 

The other top seller was a 1983 silkscreen portrait of Keith Haring and his partner, Juan Dubose, by Andy Warhol. The orange and green portrait also sold for $504,000, which was more than double its high estimated price of $250,000. 

 

The next highest sellers at the Sotheby’s sale were an untitled sketch on aluminum from 1985 by Jean-Michel Basquiat and a work on paper from 1985 by Kenny Scharf with alien figures, shapes and bright colors, which both sold for $226,800. Basquiat’s piece was given a high estimate of $150,000, while Scharf’s piece had a high estimate of $35,000. 

 

Also of note were Roy Lichtenstein’s Forms in Space American-flag style print from 1985, inscribed “For Keith” by the artist, and Rammellzee’s Death Note spray-painted wood collage from 1988, which both sold for $214,200 each. The Lichtenstein piece had a high estimate of $70,000, while Rammellzee’s piece was estimated at $60,000.

 

Disneyland, California by Tseng Kwong Chi, 1979, via Sotheby’s

 

These were not the only posthumous revivals of artists’ works; Keith Haring’s friend and late photographer Tseng Kwong Chi’s Disneyland, California (1979) from the “Ambiguous Ambassador” series set a record at $25,200 after being estimated at $12,000. Additionally, Chi’s Cape Canaveral, Florida (1985) sold for $17,640 after a $7,000 estimate. His works from his now very popular “East Meets West” series were also successful.

 

Keith Haring: Street Art And Social Activism

 

Keith Haring was an American artist who was a major contributor to the Street Art and Pop Art movements during the mid-late 20th century. Much of his graffiti-like murals take from New York City culture in the 1980s, and they often center around LGBTQ+ culture, sexual health and social activism during the AIDS epidemic. He was part of New York’s underground art scene during the 1980s, collaborating with other notable creatives including Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Vivienne Westwood

Before his death, he founded the Keith Haring Foundation, which supports the arts and other non-profit organizations that help with the education, care and prevention of HIV/AIDS in youth communities. He has been named an inaugural honoree in San Francisco’s Rainbow Honor Walk, which notes LGBTQ+ people who have made “significant contributions in their fields.”

warhol-keith-haring-basquiat-untitled-installation-portrait-featured
Detail from Untitled by Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ramellzee, Fab 5 Freddy, Futura, Zephyr, Haze, Sniper, CHI-193 and Chino, 1981, via Sotheby’s (left); with Portrait of Keith Haring and Juan Dubose by Andy Warhol, 1983, via Sotheby’s (right)

 

An online sale of a Keith Haring collection at Sotheby’s has more than tripled its pre-sale estimate of $1.4 million, accumulating a total of $4.6 million in sales. This was spread across 144 lots, all of which were sold, gaining ‘white glove’ status in auction terms. The sale, titled “Dear Keith: Works from the Personal Collection of Keith Haring,” was announced last month by the Keith Haring Foundation and will give full proceeds to the New York LGBTQ+ Community Center

 

The Keith Haring Sale Was Accessible

 

The Sotheby’s sale contained works that were accessible to a wide range of bidders. Lots by top contemporary artists were offered without reserve and held at estimates as low as $100, which encouraged younger buyers to participate. This kept the bidding process active until the very end of the Keith Haring sale on September 30th and brought in a 50% ratio of new clients. It also contained works that were exchanged between Keith Haring and the East Village art scene, featuring numerous pop-culture references from the 1980s.

 

Highest Sotheby’s Lots Sold For Over $500,000 Each

roy-lichtenstein-forms-in-space-print-keith-haring
Forms in Space by Roy Lichtenstein, 1985, via Sotheby’s

 

One of the most expensive works at the Sotheby’s Keith Haring sale was a 1981 collaborative piece by Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ramellzee, Fab Five Freddy, Futura, Zephyr, Haze, Sniper, CHI-193 and Chino, made up of 19 Plexiglass slates and decorated with drawings. It sold for $504,000, more than 4 times its high estimate of $120,000. 

 

The other top seller was a 1983 silkscreen portrait of Keith Haring and his partner, Juan Dubose, by Andy Warhol. The orange and green portrait also sold for $504,000, which was more than double its high estimated price of $250,000. 

 

The next highest sellers at the Sotheby’s sale were an untitled sketch on aluminum from 1985 by Jean-Michel Basquiat and a work on paper from 1985 by Kenny Scharf with alien figures, shapes and bright colors, which both sold for $226,800. Basquiat’s piece was given a high estimate of $150,000, while Scharf’s piece had a high estimate of $35,000. 

 

Also of note were Roy Lichtenstein’s Forms in Space American-flag style print from 1985, inscribed “For Keith” by the artist, and Rammellzee’s Death Note spray-painted wood collage from 1988, which both sold for $214,200 each. The Lichtenstein piece had a high estimate of $70,000, while Rammellzee’s piece was estimated at $60,000.

 

Disneyland, California by Tseng Kwong Chi, 1979, via Sotheby’s

 

These were not the only posthumous revivals of artists’ works; Keith Haring’s friend and late photographer Tseng Kwong Chi’s Disneyland, California (1979) from the “Ambiguous Ambassador” series set a record at $25,200 after being estimated at $12,000. Additionally, Chi’s Cape Canaveral, Florida (1985) sold for $17,640 after a $7,000 estimate. His works from his now very popular “East Meets West” series were also successful.

 

Keith Haring: Street Art And Social Activism

 

Keith Haring was an American artist who was a major contributor to the Street Art and Pop Art movements during the mid-late 20th century. Much of his graffiti-like murals take from New York City culture in the 1980s, and they often center around LGBTQ+ culture, sexual health and social activism during the AIDS epidemic. He was part of New York’s underground art scene during the 1980s, collaborating with other notable creatives including Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Vivienne Westwood

Before his death, he founded the Keith Haring Foundation, which supports the arts and other non-profit organizations that help with the education, care and prevention of HIV/AIDS in youth communities. He has been named an inaugural honoree in San Francisco’s Rainbow Honor Walk, which notes LGBTQ+ people who have made “significant contributions in their fields.”

Charlotte Davis
Charlotte Davis
I’m Charlotte Davis, an editor at TheCollector and contributing writer from Portland, Oregon now based in London, England. I’m an art historian with extensive knowledge in art history, classics, ancient art and archaeology.

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