Lot 145

Keith Haring (1958-1990)

'Channel Surf Club', Knokke

signed lower right and dated '87

gloss paint on sea-container, 250x1250x240 cm

Estimate: € 1,500,000 - € 2,000,000


 ‘I’m drawing when I’m painting. When you’re drawing, it’s completely separate because drawing is making a mark and cutting into space and finding something that didn’t exist before. It’s pure creation in its simplest form.’ (K. Haring, quoted by J. Rubell, ‘Keith Haring: The Last Interview’)

On 6 July 1987, Keith Haring painted this mural on the side of a large sea container. At the time, the container was used to store surfboards and gear for the Channel Surf Club on the beach at Knokke, Belgium. The project, which was completed in a single day, was recorded on film: Haring, carrying a brush and small pots of black and red paint, portrays the swimmers and surfers as though they have come surging out of the monstrous mouth of a sea god.  

Haring visited Knokke at the invitation of Roger Nellens, who asked him to exhibit at the local casino and to paint a mural there. Nellens was carrying on the tradition of his late father Gustave and his brother Jacques, who commissioned murals by René Magritte and Paul Delvaux respectively. In search of further walls to paint, Keith Haring spotted this container at the local surf school and decided it was perfect for a mural.

During his short but extensive career, Haring frequently contributed to public projects which carried a social or political message. During the eighties, he created several murals, amongst others in Melbourne, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Minneapolis, and Manhattan, and in 1986, he painted a section of the Berlin Wall. Between 1982 and 1989 he produced over fifty public artworks, many of which were created for charities, hospitals, and orphanages. In 1986, he opened the ‘Pop Shop’ in Soho, a retail shop intended to make his art available to the public, where he sold T-shirts, buttons, posters, and magnets with his designs for affordable prices. Haring also organised workshops for children in schools and in museums from Amsterdam and London to Tokyo and New York, and he developed visual identities for literacy programmes and other public service campaigns.

In the eighties, Haring achieved international recognition. He participated in many group exhibitions as well as solo exhibitions all over the world. Haring was diagnosed with AIDS in 1988. He passed away in 1990. (Source: www.haring.com)

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