Toni Clayton, American Pop & Modern Specialist
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Artist-cum-activist Keith Haring has been one of the most prolific and animated forces of Pop Art since his rise to fame in the 1980s. With an established, medium sized market, Haring's commercially iconic works have been met with success at auction and private sale for decades.
While 2022 marked an exceptional year for the Pop Art market in its entirety, Haring's market contracted thanks to a low volume of sales. Despite this, the average selling price of Haring's prints has continued to increase, growing by 148% since 2017.
Download our complete 2023 Print Market Report here, to explore expert opinions on the prints and multiples market over the last five years.
Haring's secondary print market is now stronger than it was in 2018 and 2019. Individual prints and complete sets by Haring continue to be worthwhile investments as we enter 2023, with positive projected returns. Haring epitomised the socially conscious nature of Pop & Urban Art in the 1980s, and collecting Haring's limited print editions affords collectors the opportunity to own crucial pieces of social, political, and art history.
Here are Haring's top 10 most investable prints according to our 2023 Market Report:
Themes of peace and unity underscore Haring's socio-politically driven oeuvre, and that is perhaps no better expressed than in Best Buddies. Originally designed as the logo for Anthony Shriver's Best Buddies organisation, the work was reproduced as a limited print series which was sold to raise over $500,000 for the project. Best Buddies worked to help create opportunities for those living with developmental disabilities, and Haring's print is an enduring homage to this organisation.
The print is one of Haring's most instantly recognisable and universally readable, and is unsurprisingly his most investable print by a considerable margin. Since 2017, the print has experienced colossal growth in value of approx. 640%.
Haring was renowned for crafting a universal iconography, like modern hieroglyphics which could be read beyond all race, class, sex, gender, and language barriers. Untitled 1985 perfectly exemplifies that universal approach to imagery, with his ubiquitous figures harmoniously moving about the composition. Created in 1985 as a limited edition of 150, Untitled 1985 has proved particularly popular in the last five years, with value growth reaching approx. 470%.
Though this work was created as a personal wedding announcement for Estefania Kong and Lawrence ‘Dr. Winkie’ Lin, Dr Winkies Wedding Invitation is characterised by its universal appeal. Two purple figures gyrate and lean in towards one another, their union cemented with a red love heart at the centre of the composition. These conjoined figures were a frequent motif in Haring's oeuvre, symbolising togetherness and intimacy. The romantic print has realised approx. 470% growth in value since 2017, speaking to the enduring nature of Haring's sentimental work.
From Haring's infamous Pop Shop series, Pop Shop II, Plate I presents two conjoined cartoonish figures. In 1986, Haring opened his first Pop Shop in downtown Manhattan to sell his art for as little as 50¢. Whether his works were sold as stickers, T-shirts, badges, or magnets, Haring's Pop Shop sought to make art democratic and accessible. Haring's vision was made possible by the medium of screen printing, which afforded the quick and mechanical reproduction of his art. This print is, therefore, an important relic of the ethos of Pop and Haring's aspiration for art to be inclusive. The work has increased in value by approx 290% since 2017, making it the most coveted and investable print from the Pop Shop series.
Untitled 1982 is a distinct work in Haring's oeuvre as an entirely monochrome print. Inspired by his early Subway Drawings, works such as this speak to the fast-paced nature of Haring's practice and the universality of their meaning. In Untitled 1982, a figure is pictured crucified at the centre of the composition, surrounded by Haring's iconic Barking Dogs. The print is from a small edition of 80, and has experienced approx. 275% growth in value since 2017.
Also from Haring's iconic Pop Shop series, Pop Shop I, Plate I is a visually striking and whimsical print. Two cartoonish figures stretch their arms across the composition, meeting in the middle to high-five each other through the hollow stomach of a third figure. Like the majority of Haring's works, expressive lines animate these simple outlined figures, creating a sense of movement and emotion. This work has also impressively grown in value over the last five years, increasing by approx. 275%.
It is hardly surprising that three of Haring's most investable prints originate in his Pop Shop series, seeing as this was the series that epitomised his values as both artist and activist. Pop Shop I, Plate IV is another of the most coveted prints in the series, and depicts a small yellow figure gleefully jumping on the knees of two flanking figures. Like the majority of Haring's works, the print has unity at its core, and champions the camaraderie between the faceless cartoons. The work has realised approx. 270% value growth since 2017, and is yet another testament to the abiding legacy of Haring's Pop Shop.
From one of Haring's more politically explicit series, Free South Africa 1 critiques the racial injustice rife in South Africa in 1985. The print represents a large black figure being dragged to the ground by a serpent-like figure, which eats a smaller white figure. The largely monochrome work is punctuated by flashes of red around the serpent and border of the print, alluding to the violent realities of Apartheid in South Africa. Alongside the other print in the Free South Africa series, this print was distributed as a poster to mobilise support against Apartheid. This historically significant print is part of a small edition of 60, and has experienced approx. 260% growth in value over the past five years.
Unlike a lot of Haring's limited print editions, International Youth Year was produced as an edition of 1000. Though the work is more likely to appear on the secondary market than other prints by Haring, it has still realised an impressive growth in value of approx. 195% since 2017. Commissioned by the United Nations to commemorate 1985 as International Youth Year, the print has a distinctly juvenile and playful appeal. One of Haring's archetypal figures appears at the centre of the composition dancing beneath a pink sun, symbolising hope for future generations.
From Haring's late Apocalypse series, Apocalypse 1 is a peculiar work in the Pop Artist's body of work. A mushroom cloud explodes at the centre of the composition, apparently devastating a crowd of figures at the bottom of the work. On either side of the explosion are defaced images of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, and ’devil sperm’ floating in the foreground. The print is underscored by death and destruction, and makes clear allusions to the AIDS crisis after Haring's own diagnosis in the year of its creation. The work has remained a poignant work in Haring's oeuvre, experiencing approx. 185% value growth since 2017.
Find out more about Keith Haring prints as alternative investment assets in our Ultimate Print Market Report.