Keith Haring Biography: Life, paintings, contribution, death- Easy explanation

Keith Haring Biography: Life, paintings, contribution, death- Easy explanation

Keith Haring: In this article, you would know everything about Keith Haring- From his childhood to death. Keith Haring- Life, paintings, contribution, death- Easy explanation.


Keith Haring Biography

Early life and beginnings

Allen Haring was the father of Keith Haring, who was an amateur cartoonist and engineer, Mr Keith Haring had taken his fundamental knowledge from his father. His mother, Joan Haring was a housewife.

Due to the job profile of his father, he also became interested in art when he was just nine years old. Mr Keith along with his three sisters- Karen, Kay, Kristen, he used to make drawings. At a very young age, He started producing funny and creative illustrations.

That’s why we see cartoon characters in the drawings of Keith Haring. There are so many cartoon programmes in which this artist worked directly or indirectly such as Dr Seuss, Walt Disney cartoons, Looney Tunes and the Charles Schulz etc.

In his childhood, he used to go to the United Church of God with his whole family and also in his early age of teenage, and he joined Jesus Movement.

We see this attachment in the mural by Keith Haring in Barcelona wherein he has shown the relationship between religious sign and daily routine gestures and postures.

His father was a cartoonist who used to work for that time cartoon programmes, and Mr Keith Haring also decided to become an artist. Therefore he took admission in “Ivy School of Professional Art”.

He studied there from 1976 to 1978. But after many ups and downs, Keith Haring lost the interest in commercial art, and now he was not willing to pursue this study, he decided to leave this professional course.

Meanwhile, he read the book “The Art Spirit” of 1923 which inspired him most, and he decided to concentrate on his art instead of traditional way of art style.

And he joined the pop art movement as a collage artist. In his spare time, he used to draw graffiti.

But Mr Keith Haring was not from well to do family, that’s why for livelihood, he joined maintenance department in “Pittsburgh Center for the Arts”, where he met Jackson Pollock, Alechinsky, Mark Tobey and Jean Dubuffet.

They all were the known personalities in the field of various arts(Pop art, Abstract Expressionist etc.)

The work of Alechinsky influenced Keith Haring, Alechinsky was connected to CoBrA group which was the association of International Expressionist.

It gave motivation to Keith Haring to create or draw larger paintings. In which the maximum paintings were Calligraphic images. Along with the collaboration of Alechinsky, Keith Haring also received the assistance of Christo. He introduced many possibilities.

Due to the help of artists of CoBrA group- Jackson Pollock, Alechinsky, Mark Tobey and Jean Dubuffet, his solo exhibition was organised by this group in Pittsburgh (Center for the Arts) in 1978.

International breakthrough

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and National Gallery of Victoria, these were two bodies who first of all, recognised the work of Keith Haring.

Along with these paintings, his other painting of “Andy Warhol Mouse” became so famous, and Andy Warhol also gave space to the portraits of Keith Haring.

Keith Haring met Andy Warhol in his association “The Factory”. After this meeting, Keith Haring had said- Andy Warhol is a very cordial person, and I am feeling delighted.

His murals of Melbourne is very famous that was made in 1984. When he was in Australia, National Gallery of Victoria invited him for mural painting in Collingwood College (Victoria).

For the very first time, he received a commission which was given by this same Art Gallery (National Gallery of Victoria).

After this success, Mr Keith Haring also visited many places like  Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Manhattan, Minneapolis and  Rio de Janeiro. Indeed many people including artists used to say that his art style is like a cliché which has nothing new, his all depictions is repetitive and boring.

But despite having these perceptions, Keith Haring never stopped his work.


Keith Haring completed his professional art study from “The Ivy School of Professional Art”. Keith Haring was both commercial illustrator and cartoonist.

His work “Crack is Wack” is counted among the topmost work. At the age of 24, when the first time he got recognition as a pop artist- then he quit his other part-time jobs and became a full-time commercial painter.

In 1984, he received the commission from Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and National Gallery of Victoria.

He met with Andy Warhol in his association “The Factory”. Keith Haring expressed his happiness- It was a lovely day for me, I met with him who is considered the pioneer of this art style and I will feel very proud if I work with this artist in future.

And after this meeting, Keith Haring started work for the societal and political cause. He showed his talent at many places such as Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Rio de Janeiro.

Following are the list of awards, works and honours which Keith Haring received in his whole career.

Statue of Liberty- This statue was designed by Frederic Auguste (French sculptor). It’s a neoclassical sculpture that is situated in New York Harbor.

Keith Haring has worked with 1000 children in the project of its beautification.

Crack is Wack- This painting is the combination of radiant babies and flying saucers, and it is counted among the notable work of Keith Haring. This artist received the award for this work- “The Award.”

 Google Doodle- On the occasion of his 54th birthday of Keith Haring, Google Doodle(Signifies achievements, holidays, events etc.) featured him in his google logo box.

Keith Haring museums

Keith Haring visited various places and painted many murals. Especially his painting “Crack is Wack” became so famous when this was featured for the first time in Barcelona.

This was the paintings of radiant babies and flying saucers wherein he had depicted the relationship between artistic expression and awareness of AIDS disease and homosexuality.

To preserve the works of Keith Haring, two independent bodies were formed. First was- Keith Haring Foundation and the second was the group of pop art artists. They both used to check the authenticity of Keith Haring’s paintings.

If you want to see the real work of Keith Haring, then you should prefer one of the following.

Whitney Museum of American Art- It is located in Manhattan and known for its solo exhibition of Keith Haring, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney had laid the foundation stone of this museum in 1931.

Mr Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney was a prominent American who had also worked in the collaboration of this artist (Keith Haring).

Gladstone Gallery- It represents the Keith Haring Foundation. Barbara Gladstone was an American film producer and art dealer. This body also checks the authenticity of paintings made by Keith Haring.

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