This signed screen print from 1990 is a limited edition of 100 from Keith Haring’s Flowers series. Created using vivid pastel colours, Flowers III is a lively scene of fluid, phallic shapes with an organic composition of flower-like figures rendered with gestural marks and thick, bold outlines. Rendered in vibrant pastel colours and set against a saturated yellow background, this print has a visceral quality that is not always present in Haring’s work, yet is an excellent example of Haring’s pop-graffiti aesthetic.
Following his AIDS diagnosis in 1988, Haring completed the Flowers series only months before his tragic death in 1990. Flowers III is executed with dense, rhythmic lines and the screen print ink has been allowed to drip down the image, forming thin streaks of colour that stand out against the solid black outlines. The drip lines and splatter marks were intentionally left by Haring as an expression of his bodily suffering, whilst also to acknowledge the legacy of figures like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning from the Abstract Expressionist movement.
The Flowers series represents plant forms and growth with bright, artificial colours. In Flowers III, Haring uses coloured dots and holes to denote the otherness of homosexuality and illness, specifically AIDS, at the time. The flower figures that Haring carefully chooses as his subject matter throughout the print series, are deliberately ambiguous in their phallic nature. Through the use of colour and pattern, Flowers III employs a joyful visual language and flower-like shapes to allude to the fragility of life and closeness to death for those living with HIV/AIDS in the 1980s.