Rare Keith Haring artwork unframed, photo’d prior to May 2 auction

Keith Haring

Keith Haring (American, 1958-1990), acrylic/gold paint marker on red plexiglass, 1983, signed. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers and Palm Beach Modern Auctions

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Think back to the mid-’80s. You or somebody you know probably had a shirt from the Pop Shop emblazoned with Keith Haring’s “radiant baby” across the chest. Haring’s instantly recognizable symbols made him an icon of art and social awareness. He was on everything from the subways of New York City to the Berlin Wall and featured in galleries around the world. One such gallery was the Galleria Lucio Amelio in Naples, Italy. Commemorating his 1983 exhibition, Haring produced the “Lucio Amelio” suite of lithographs. As a personal gift, Haring presented Amelio with three paintings, one of which will be auctioned on May 2. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

The cherry-red sheet of shining plexiglass is festooned with quintessential Haring figures: dog, TV, robot, crucifix, atom bomb, and of course, the radiant baby. On verso, in black and gold acrylic and paint marker, is the inscription “May 11-83-Napoli for Lucio.” The piece is well traveled, having made its way into several private collections and New York galleries over the 38 years since its creation.

Keith Haring

Haring artwork at the frame shop where it was carefully disassembled. Image courtesy of Palm Beach Modern Auctions

“Bidders are smart, and savvy. They want to really get to know what they’re buying from thousands of miles away,” said Rico Baca, Palm Beach Modern Auctions’ co-owner and auctioneer. “It’s our job to give them that information so they can bid confidently. Beyond the great provenance, the answer was to take it out of the frame.”

“There’s something exciting about revealing the work in this way, seeing the way his lines and texture reflect in the transparent surface. We took a series of photos at the framer’s studio to document the unframing, and they’re very cool. We want to share that experience.”

Keith Haring’s 1983 painting, which has a $550,000-$750,000 estimate, will be offered by Palm Beach Modern Auctions on Saturday, May 2. For additional information call 561-586-5500 or email info@modernauctions.com. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/