Reading, 1958 - New York, 1990

Keith Haring

A cartoonist’s son, he studied graphic arts in Pittsburgh and moved to New York at the age of 19 to continue his education at the School of Visual Arts. He immediately took a special interest in graffiti and murals, making a name for himself in the city for his images in various underground stations. From the early 1980s, he began to exhibit his drawings at Club 57, an East Village nightclub and a favourite haunt for artists and musicians. Later, he met Andy Warhol, establishing a great friendship that contributed to both men’s success and influenced his own style. Indeed, he participated in the Terrae Motus art exhibition with Warhol, contributing the work Untitled (1983). From the mid 1980s, his international reputation grew, as he made and exhibited works in Australia, Brazil, France, Holland and Germany. In 1986, he opened his first Pop Shop in New York, where people could buy gadgets with his creations and see him at work, free of charge. In the same year, on the Berlin Wall, he painted some children holding hands. And in 1989, near the Church of Sant’Antonio Abate, Pisa, he produced his final public work, a grand mural entitled Tuttomondo, dedicated to world peace. At the age of just 31, on 16 February 1990, he died of Aids.