Known for his bold graphic style and playful sense of humour, Keith Haring is one of the most influential and adored artists of the 20th century. As well as an impressive oeuvre of paintings, Haring produced a number of advertising campaigns, toys, prints and murals that encompassed his belief that art was for everyone.
This fascination with accessibility led Haring to open his famous ‘Pop Shop’ in New York’s Soho in 1986 – where kids and collectors alike could buy his work for as little as 50 cents – and also to experiment with the medium of print, which allowed him to reproduce his paintings over and over again. In his words, this was a way of ‘Taking art off the pedestal. I’m giving it back to the people,’.
Though he had experimented with print techniques such as lithography in the late 70s and 80s it wasn’t until 1983 that Haring began making screen prints, or serigraphs. Soon he was producing ever more inventive and bold prints in both small and large editions. This move to screen printing was undoubtedly due in part to the technique being popularised by Andy Warhol, one of Haring’s most important influences.
Today Haring is still considered to be one of the most significant figures of post-war and contemporary art and design, and his popularity shows no sign of waning; he continues to be featured in a number of critically acclaimed group and solo exhibitions around the world that highlight the importance of his art and activism since the 80s and up to the present. His timeless prints continue to be in high demand and attract high prices, making this the perfect time to speak to one of our brokers about how to get the most out of your collection.
Signed vs. Unsigned
Early on in Haring’s career it became evident that the energy and curiosity he demonstrated for painting translated perfectly into printmaking and he soon began to work with publishers across the US, Switzerland, Japan, Germany, France, Denmark and Holland. Though many of his prints were made in large editions, there is an element of precision in every single one that shows the level of care with which he supervised the process.
By the time of his death, Haring had produced so many prints that the exact number has become impossible to count. There are many unsigned editions on the market, though these tend only to be considered valuable if approved by the Keith Haring Foundation.
One of Haring’s most valuable print portfolios is a 1986 series entitled Andy Mouse that saw the artist depict Andy Warhol in Mickey Mouse shorts complete with sunglasses and his trademark spiky wig. Representing two of the most important figures of the Pop Art movement, this is one of the most sought after editions in Haring’s oeuvre and a striking example of his mastery of screen printing as a medium. Signed by both artists these editions are among the most valuable.
Provenance and Paperwork
As with any artwork, it is important to preserve any documents pertaining to your original purchase of a Keith Haring print. This is of course even more important if the work is unsigned but approved by the Keith Haring Foundation. From a certificate of authenticity or auction receipt to details of the previous owners, these pieces of paper can make a huge difference – sometimes resulting substantial increased value – when it comes to selling your collection.
Looking After Your Prints
Screen prints and lithographs are as susceptible to damage as paintings. Over time the bright colours of Haring’s designs can fade if not looked after properly. Asking a reputable framer to create a mount for the work is always money well spent against your investment. The condition of a work of art can significantly affect its value when it comes to be sold so it’s important to guard against such damaging agents as light, moisture and inexpert handling.
If you are unsure about the condition of your works, do not hesitate to speak to one of our brokers who will be able to recommend a conservation specialist if necessary. Works on paper can buckle over time, the print appearing slightly wavy due to changes in temperature or atmosphere, but this can be easily fixed by an expert. It is usually advisable not to attempt flattening or adjusting the print in any way yourself as this can do more harm than good and can result in loss of value.
Haring began working in lithography in the early 80s, producing small edition sizes of 40 or 50 monochrome designs before moving onto screen printing and producing work mostly in editions of 100 with a few exceptions – his Andy Mouse series was only made as an edition of 30, while the Pop Shop series was printed as editions of 200 for single prints and 45 for the Pop Shop Quad set. As with any prints, smaller portfolio sizes tend to be considered more valuable, but a large edition size should not be considered a barrier to a good sale if the work is striking and in excellent condition.
When To Sell
When it comes to selling artwork on the secondary market, timing is everything. Though he died in 1990, Haring’s work continues to be at the forefront of the post-war and contemporary print market and featured in international exhibitions and publications. Thanks to his commercial nous, the Pop Shop he established in the 80s continues to sell his merchandise online and often partners with leading streetwear brands and established fashion houses such as Uniqlo and Coach, ensuring his name remains known among younger generations of fans and collectors, and proving his enduring appeal as an artist.
How to Sell
Choosing the right platform to sell your artwork is important. Success at auction is not always easy to come by – so much depends on the room, the other works in the sale and the time and date. Another thing to consider is that while auction houses will appraise your work for free and help you set a reserve price they also charge substantial sales fees, often up to 15% plus loss, damage and lability insurance, marketing charges and storage costs.
Selling through MyArtBroker, where you can offer your work free of charge with our fixed 0% seller’s commission, is a safe and cost effective solution for any collector. You will gain access to a huge network of clients, carefully selected by our brokers who know their individual tastes. We will give you a realistic valuation for your work and can discreetly market the work on your behalf.