UPDATE: Keith Haring’s 85-foot-wide-mural that was drilled out of the walls of the Grace House Catholic youth center in New York City was recently sold at a Bonhams auction for $3.9 million USD. The final hammer price had fallen in between the auction house’s pre-sale estimate of $3 million to $5 million USD.
According to Artnet, the Grace House spent $900,000 USD to excavate the mural with the assistance of EverGreene Architectural Arts. The firm had successfully cut out all portions of the mural that portrays Haring’s signature motifs of minimalist dancing figures. The church then consigned the work to Bonhams who sold the work as a single lot. The proceeds of the sale will now go towards “capital improvements in the church’s parish,” as per the art website.
Although the mural snapped up millions of dollars, the late artist’s foundation is seemingly upset with the sale. “We are disappointed,” said Gil Vazquez, president of the Keith Haring Foundation to The New York Times last month. “This mural was not meant to be owned by a collector. It was meant to brighten a room full of children.”
Bonhams hasn’t revealed the name of the collector or institution that purchased the mural. Additionally, plans regarding whether or not the piece will go on public view haven’t been disclosed. Nevertheless, stay tuned for updates on this story and then let us know your thoughts below.
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Bonhams will offer the first Keith Haring mural ever to come to auction in our Post-War & Contemporary Art sale on November 13 in New York. • One of Haring’s best-hidden treasures, the monumental 85ft 'The Grace House Mural' was painted by the artist circa 1983/1984, up three-stories of the five-story stairwell of Grace House, a former convent and home of the Catholic Youth Organization in Upper Manhattan. The 13 figures, preserved in 15 separate sections, have been described as a “lexicon of Haring’s vocabulary” and contains his iconic figures such as the Radiant Baby, the Barking Dog, and the figures dancing. • Bruno Vinciguerra, Bonhams Executive Chairman, commented: “Keith Haring’s Grace House Mural encapsulates a classic New York story by the ultimate New York artist. Haring’s ingenuity and spontaneity shine through this astonishing monumental work. It’s history and it’s composition make it one of the most exciting lots to come on to the market this year.” • 'The Grace House Mural' will be on view in Bonhams’ Madison Avenue galleries on November 2-13. • #BonhamsNY #Bonhams1793 #Bonhams #BonhamsContemporary @bonhamscontemporary #keithharing #artist #1980s #newyorkart #contemporaryart #postwarart #fineart
Original article published October 18, 2019: In 1983, Keith Haring started painting the inside of a stairwell in Grace House, a Catholic Youth Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Haring’s figures took up three stories of the building, creating a massive 85-foot mural. That same mural will be auctioned off at Bonhams New York next month, where it is estimated to sell for $3 million to $5 million USD.
Described as a “lexicon of Haring’s vocabulary,” the monumental work includes some of the artist’s most iconic figures, such as the “Radiant Baby” and “Barking Dog.” “When new kids came to that building and they saw all that stuff, they said, ‘Oh my god, this is Keith Haring. Is this real?’” Gary Mallon, who was director of the youth center, said. “He had a can of black paint in his hand and a black, kind of a thick brush, and he just started with that radiant baby on the first floor and then just worked his way up. We followed him, and I remember saying, ‘Ooh, it’s dripping,’ and he said, ‘That’s O.K. It’s supposed to drip.’”
When Grace House eventually closed, the mural’s 13 figures were cut out and preserved into 15 separate sections. For the first time, Bonhams will auction Haring’s mural at its Post-War & Contemporary Art sale. This decision has raised questions on the future of the artwork; whether it will fall into a private collection or be brought into a museum.
The mural will be on view at Bonhams’ galleries from November 2 up until the auction on November 13. Visit the gallery at the address below.
Elsewhere, the second edition of SBI Art Auction and en one tokyo’s “Harajuku Auction” will include works from KAWS, Jeff Koons and more.
Bonhams New York
580 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10022