Collecting work from one of the Pop Art masters, can be hugely rewarding and Haring’s oeuvre, whilst his life was short, offers a myriad of both playful and insightful comments on the issues that were important to him and his peers at the time of his working – from AIDS to New York City’s ongoing violence and drugs crisis – Haring’s work has been compared to the masters of print before him, from Goya and Dürer to Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
Things to Consider:
Today his prints are frequently among the most sought after multiples on the market, but that shouldn’t deter hopeful collectors; Haring believed art was for everyone and created hundreds of prints, mostly in large edition sizes as well as some rarer smaller sets.
His work continues to be revered by the critics and kids alike, thanks to his continuing presence on the market and in museums, and the work of the Keith Haring Foundation which has collaborated with streetwear brands and established fashion houses such as Uniqlo and Coach to ensure his work is as iconic now as it was in the 1980s and 90s.
Keith Haring prints vs paintings
Prints can enrich any collection, showing another side to a beloved artist’s work or allowing newer collectors to acquire authentic and iconic works at a lower price point. The formal qualities of a screen print or lithograph versus an oil on canvas can be fascinatingly diverse, allowing the artist to experiment in ways that are not possible with an original. For Haring, producing merchandise and prints to sell through his Pop Shops was a way of subverting art market elitism: “I could earn more money if I just painted a few things and jacked up the price. My shop is an extension of what I was doing in the subway stations, breaking down the barriers between high and low art.”
What to look for when buying a Haring print
As when buying any work of art, authenticity and provenance are key. Most editions by Haring are signed by the artist so this should be the first thing to look for. There are also many unsigned prints on the market but collectors should always ensure these are authenticated by the Keith Haring Foundation. Secondly the condition must be pristine – the print should have been kept away from direct sunlight and moisture and remain untrimmed. Finally, provenance is everything – always ensure the print you are buying is accompanied by the relevant paperwork: a certificate of authentication, gallery or auction receipt, or documents detailing previous owners, to ensure that the piece does not lose value.
What to spend
Naturally portfolios of multiple prints will be valued higher while single prints can be purchased for a lot less. Haring’s continued relevance to the worlds of art and design ensure Haring’s prices continue to grow, proving him to be a sound investment for both new and established collectors. Some of his most sought after series, including Stones, Icons, Retrospect and the Pop Shop sets continue to fetch high prices due to their striking designs – they feature some of his most famous characters, from the barking dog to the radiant baby – and quality of print.
If you have any questions about buying and selling prints by Keith Haring, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our brokers, we would be happy to advise you.