Published: November 19, 2019
NEW YORK CITY — A stretch textile full panel of “Jesus and His Children with Keith Haring Squibbles,” 1988, which the artist did for punk and pop fashion designer and artist Stephen Sprouse, led Augusta Auctions’ annual fashion and textile sale, conducted November 13 at Landmark on the Park. The 40-by-57-inch textile sold for $15,000, including buyer’s premium, according to the firm’s co-owner Bob Ross. It was won by an online bidder affiliated with a Midwestern institution, bid up from its $3/5,000 estimate by the underbidder, a New York City collector.
Keith Haring (1958-1990), the American artist whose pop art and graffiti-like work grew out of the New York City street culture of the 1980s, is having his season. In October, the restoration of his “Crack Is Wack” mural painted on an active handball court in the late 1980s was completed in a partnership project by the New York City Parks Department and the Keith Haring Foundation. And on the same day as the Augusta auction, Haring’s untitled mural for the Church of the Ascension Grace House, the first Haring mural ever to be offered at auction, set a world record $3.8 million at Bonhams’ sale of postwar and contemporary art.
Haring rose to prominence in the early 1980s with his gritty, kinetic drawings made in the subways and public spaces in New York City. Cartoon-like appeal and pop energy are the hallmarks of his aesthetic — a world filled with rhythmically drawn babies, barking dogs, flying saucers, hearts and Mickey Mouse. An advocate for AIDS activism, especially after his own AIDS diagnosis, Haring explored themes of exploitation, subjugation and drug abuse. In the Sprouse textile, Haring’s energetic doodles overlay a serene biblical scene.
In Augusta’s sale, a rare Mermaid sea silk hat, made of one of the world’s rarest, most storied fibers, was another top highlight, achieving $14,000. The 1920-30 turban was knit from the rare fibers and was offered from a private collection in Croatia and had never been viewed in a public setting.
Watch for a more extensive review of this sale in an upcoming issue.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm