Keith Haring’s collection raises $4.6million for charity

Rare works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jean-Michel Basquiat, George Condo and others achieve 100% sell-through rate in online auction.

Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of Haring’s death in 1990, the Keith Haring Foundation has teamed up with Sotheby’s to auction nearly 140 artworks from the artist’s personal collection. The Dear Keith online auction totalled $4,578,210 after eight days of bidding on 1 October 2020 with every lot sold. All the proceeds from the sale will benefit the Center, a LGBTQ non-profit in New York with artistic connections to Haring.

Every piece offered by the Foundation had a personal significance to Haring, who had either bought the work himself, received it as a gift or acquired it by trading for his own art.

Among the highlights from the collection was Warhol’s Portrait of Keith Haring and Juan Dubose, featuring the artist and his partner of five years. Haring hung Warhol’s screenprint prominently in his New York apartment. Estimated at $200,000-250,000, the portrait was expected to go for higher given the recent renewed interest in Warhol’s life and art, along with strong results at auction over the past few months. It eventually sold for $504,000, becoming the top lot of the sale.

Other highlights include Lichtenstein’s silkscreen print Forms in Space, which also hung on Haring’s living room wall; an early drawing by Condo, inscribed with a personal message to Haring; and a painting on found aluminium by Basquiat. The demand for works by these artists is also high at the moment: a painting by Lichtenstein was a top lot at Christie’s in July, while a new record was set for a work on paper by Basquiat in June.

Raising over $4million in funds, “help couldn’t come fast enough for the Center” as The New York Times recently stated. The non-profit reportedly faces a $5.4million loss in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while also experiencing almost double the demand for their counselling and substance abuse treatment services.

Sotheby’s has not stated whether it would waiver its seller’s fee due to the charitable nature of this sale. If following their standard practice, auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s could take up to 15% commission from the seller – while also potentially charging them for shipping, storage, insurance and marketing, and even unsold fees if an artwork doesn’t sell.

For the Keith Haring Foundation, Sotheby’s high fees and commissions would result in less proceeds to support the Center’s vital work. The traditional model used by blue-chip auction houses simply doesn’t benefit the seller – find out more in our dedicated guide.

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