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Portrait Of Joseph Beuys

Portrait Of Joseph Beuys
Signed Print

Keith Haring

Screenprint, 1986
Signed Print Edition of 90
H 64cm x W 31cm

Critical Review

Haring’s print Portrait of Joseph Beuys (1986) is from a portfolio of 30 works by various artists to commemorate the death of Joseph Beuys’ in 1986, one of the most influential artists of the second half of the 20th century. The portfolio was jointly published by Bern Klüser and Jörg Schellmannm, who had both worked with Beuys in the past, to honour his crucial and outstanding artistic achievements.

In this print Haring references Beuys’ immense land art project 7000 Oaks – City Forestation Instead of City Administration whereby 7000 oak trees were planted in Kassel, Germany over the course of five years. Haring merges Beuys’ face with a trunk of an oak tree to pay homage to this work, using rounded brown lines against the organic looking canvas beneath.

Portrait of Joseph Beuys is starkly different to much of Haring’s other works in its explicit depiction of a real person’s face and subdued colour palette. The simplification of form and line in the image is typical of Haring’s work and the way in which the lines of tree bark seem to dance off the page is reminiscent of some of the artist’s more dynamic works.