Julia, 1987 incised 'K. Haring 87 1/10' (on the base) painted aluminum 24 x 19¼ x 14¼in. (61 x 49 x 36cm) This work is number one from an edition of ten plus two artist's proofs.
PROVENANCE: Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris. Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1999.
EXHIBITED: Paris, Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Keith Haring, 12 Sculptures, 4 June23 July 1999 (another from the edition illustrated in color, p. 37).
LITERATURE: Keith Haring Sculptures, Paintings and Work on Paper, Milan 2005 (another from the edition illustrated in color, pp. 42-43). Keith Haring Sculptures, exh. cat., New York, Deitch Projects, 2005 (another from the edition illustrated in color, p. 32).
"The contemporary artist has a responsibility to continue celebrating humanity" (D. Drenger, "Art and Life: An Interview with Keith Haring," in Columbia Art Review, Spring 1988, p. 63)
Symbolizing the energy and innovation of New York City's art scene during the 1980's, Keith Haring's playfully iconic linear figures have become a part of the visual lexicon of popular American culture. With both his paintings and sculptural practices reproduced in monumental sizes, from giant steel sculptures along Park Avenue to murals wrapping around city blocks, Haring's desire to present his work as not only approachable but also legible reveals his core artistic and philosophical influences.
Expressing universal ideals of love, creation and collaboration, Haring's figures touch those on a primitive level, where rather than imitate life, his works "try to create life, try to invent life. "(C. Flyman, "Interview with Keith Haring", 26 September 1980, in G. Celant, Keith Haring, Munich 1992, p. 116). This celebration of life can easily be seen in the emotionally charged yet methodically poised and balletic stance of Julia, 1987, named for Haring's close friend and the current executive director of the Keith Haring Foundation, Julia Gruen. The expressive nature of this work is unique, in that the emotive and striking nature of the piece reverberates love and respect when interpreted alongside its namesake.
Inspired by fellow artists Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Haring's figural experimentation extends the art historical rhetoric surrounding the power and primacy of line established by the likes of modernists Jean Dubuffet, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. What is unique to Haring, however, is his ability to celebrate both line and color in a manner that gives voice to the delightfully coy nature of contemporary public works by artists like Christo and Jean-Claude. When asked about the works of Dubuffet and Christo in 1989, Haring noted that he was deeply affected by their (Dubuffet and Christo) "belief that art could reach all kinds of people, as opposed to the traditional view, which has art as this elitist thing." (D. Sheff, "Keith Haring: An Intimate Conversation", in Rolling Stone, August 1989). The legibility and participatory elements of these artistic influences blend and bloom in Haring's works, where line, color and most importantly the human figure unite in a euphoric space of altruistic understanding.