Art Market

Keith Haring’s personal art collection will be sold for charity at Sotheby’s.

Shannon Lee
Aug 31, 2020 9:20PM, via Sotheby’s

Andy Warhol, Portrait of Keith Haring and Juan DuBose, 1983. Est. $200,000–250,000. Courtesy Sotheby’s.

Sotheby’s is hosting a dedicated online auction of over 140 works from Keith Haring’s personal collection from September 24th through October 1st, offering a unique opportunity for collectors to immerse themselves in a new facet of the artist’s life. Titled “Dear Keith: Works from the Personal Collection of Keith Haring,” the sale is expected to raise around $1 million for the New York City LGBTQ+ nonprofit the Center, and includes works by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf, George Condo, Jenny Holzer, Lee Quiñones, and Roy Lichtenstein that were bought by, traded with, or gifted to the late artist.

Andy Warhol’s portrait of Keith Haring and Juan Dubose hanging in Haring’s living room in 1989. Photo by Nancy Elizabeth Hill.

Harrison Tenzer, Head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Online Sales in New York, said in a press release:

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.

Organized with the Keith Haring Foundation, this will be the first time these works appear at auction, with estimates ranging from $100 to $250,000. At the higher end is Warhol’s 1983 portrait of Haring and his lover, Juan Dubose, which hung in Haring’s living room and is estimated to bring between $200,000 and $250,000. The sale coincides with the 30th anniversary of the artist’s death—Haring died in 1990 due to HIV/AIDS-related complications—and comes at a critical time for the Center, which has suffered a projected $5.4 million in losses due to COVID-19, according to the New York Times.

A work by Roy Lichtenstein hangs in Keith Haring’s New York City apartment in 1989. Photo by Nancy Elizabeth Hill.

Gil Vazquez, acting director of the foundation, said in a statement:

It feels as if Keith himself rallied his friends to make art for this specific purpose. [...] The Center embodies so much of what Keith was about: community, empowerment, and the support of our future, the youth.

Haring painted Once Upon a Time, one of his final large-scale murals and his most risqué, in the Center’s Greenwich Village headquarters in 1989.

Further Reading: Keith Haring on How to Be an Artist

Shannon Lee
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019