This signed offset lithograph from 1982 is a limited edition of 70 from Keith Haring’s Bayer Suite series. Bayer Suite 4 shows an early rendering of Haring’s iconic ‘People Ladder motif’ used in his Growing series (1988), showing three figures, with one balancing on the arms of the other two to form a pyramid.
Commissioned in 1982 by Bayer AG on the occasion of the release of the heart medication ‘Sali-Adalat’, the prints in the Bayer Suite series are depicted in the artists' trademark figurative style, and recall the artist’s early subway drawings, where he spent his days drawing in white chalk on the empty advertising panels of the New York subway system.
The ‘People Ladder’ motif in Haring’s work has come to represent a tower of break dancers stacked on top of one another to convey a sense of joy and community in a way that reflected the artist’s love of hip hop emerging in New York City in the 1980s. Haring’s use of red action lines surrounding the figures work to create a sense of excitement in the print and also signifies the figures’ struggle to balance.
Haring’s use of lithography as a method of printing worked to maintain the crisp edges and opaque sections of colour that make up his signature style, due to lithography’s capacity to produce exceptional detail across hundreds of multiples.