Keith Haring, Red – Yellow – Blue No Portrait of Martin, 1987
Acrylic and enamel on canvas, 241,5 x 243 cm
Collection Lentos Art Museum Linz, Inv. Nr. 1165
A drawing in two dimensions, without any spatial depth. Disjointed staccato lines. Loud colours. Rhythm, drive, vitality: this portrait of his friend Martin is typical of Keith Haring, one of the most significant artists of the ’80s. There is hardly another artist with such a high recognition value. For inspiration Haring drew above all on comics and street art.
Haring always worked at great speed, completing even major paintings in a matter of hours. He had acquired that work technique from the pictures he drew illegally at the beginning of his career on the rolling stock of the New York City subway, where he was in danger of being disturbed at all times.
Haring’s pictures are not meant to convey any fixed message. In his view, interpretation was up to the observer rather than the artist. As far as he was concerned, anyone who got involved with his pictures was to make sense of them as they wished. So, give free rein to your associations. There is no question here of being right or wrong.
Haring’s portrait of Martin came into being in 1987, when he was at the climax of his fame. Shortly afterwards he was diagnosed with Aids. He died in 1990 when he was barely 31.