Untitled | Keith Haring

Untitled 1988 | Painting 35,8 x 47,6 Inch

Discover the biography and all work of the artist

This large painting by Keith Haring essentially consists of four vivid, fluorescent colours: green for the background, pink for the body of the subject and yellow for the little man coming out of its most intimate part; all of this surrounded by black, typical of all the artist's drawings, picking out the figures and the scene. It depicts a man reclining, with the spectator seeing only his naked torso, one arm and, in the foreground, his triumphant phallus symbolising sexuality as a source of joy, hope and life, ejaculating a yellow, stylised creature.

Like this painting, most of the American artist's works are untitled so as not to restrict the spectator to just one perception of the work.

A major critic of the dramas of modern society such as war, drugs or racism, he wished to allow spectators the freedom to interpret his shapes with their direct, simple, easily identifiable colours in their own way.

Suffering from AIDS, Keith Haring was a committed artist up until his death in 1990, an activist who denounced this scourge, particularly where children were concerned, thereby enabling a different interpretation of this painting. Beyond his provocative side highlighted by this nudity, it is the power of life and love which springs forth through this character with his arm held victoriously aloft, like a message of hope and vitality for generations to come.

Keith Haring's art embodies the New York of the 1970s-80s, its clamour, its fashions, its inventions: thanks to him, art left the art galleries and invaded the streets like never before. The immediacy and primitive nature of his work tells of the colourful, sometimes kitsch pop culture, bordering on street culture, of this era.

Keith Haring was far more than a graphic artist or a decorator: he was a total artist, endowed with great imagination and great precision, a product of cartoon-culture and Walt Disney, but also influenced by pre-Columbian Mayan culture, Japanese pictograms and even Picasso. He translates these influences or references into his own language in his works.