The Story Of Red And Blue Keith Haring
Find out more about Keith Haring’s The Story Of Red And Blue series, browse prints & editions for sale & view the works wanted by active buyers right now.
Presented in the format of a children’s story book, Keith Haring’s The Story Of Red And Blue series consists of 20 screen prints. Representative of Haring’s desire to create a visual language that appealed to both children and adults alike, the series is formed of a variety of simplified images reminiscent of children’s fictional characters. Throughout the series Haring limits his colour palette to bright red and blue and renders each image in his distinctive linear style with black rounded lines.
Throughout the series Haring depicts some characters that explicitly reference children’s fictional tales and others that are more obscure. The Story Of Red And Blue 3 shows a line drawing of a pig reminiscent of a character from The Three Little Pigs, and The Story Of Red And Blue 5 that shows a comical depiction of the character from the famous children’s nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty. The Story Of Red And Blue 9 and 17 are more unusual when considered within the context of the entire series, showing images of abstracted faces depicted in thick, bold lines and symmetrical compositions that represent Haring’s debt to non-western art traditions, echoing the bold lines of Pre-Columbian art – especially those of Nazca lines – and aboriginal art.
Across the first half of the series, each print alternates in colour between red and blue and by the end of the series the two colours appear together in the prints. By the final print, The Story Of Red And Blue 20, the colours red and blue are mixed together to form the shape of an egg, held in a human hand. In each print Haring uses simplified and generic pictograms to produce the effect of a children’s story book without a sensical storyline, where instead this story seems to focus abstractly on the colours red and blue.
Why is The Story Of Red And Blue important?
The Story Of Red And Blue is distinctly light-hearted in its tone, made in the year before his tragic death, during a time when he was producing ever more inventive and exciting work in large quantities as a result of being tested positive for HIV in 1988. Furthermore, during this period, Haring was tireless in his work with children of all ages and backgrounds, collaborating on murals with young people in America’s poorest inner cities and holding numerous drawing workshops. Upholding a world view that rendered racial, cultural and sexual differences immaterial, Haring admired children for their sense of innocence claiming, “Children are colour-blind and still free of all the complications, greed and hatred that will slowly be instilled in them.” The Story of Red and Blue is an example of Haring’s work that was created with kids in mind as its audience.
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. Today his prints are frequently among the most sought after multiples on the market.
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