Keith Haring’s rise to art world prominence was based on developing an original language of symbols, quickly drawn with white chalk on black paper, covering vacated advertising panels in New York’s subways. It was the power and spontaneity of these images that gave the art its authenticity. Determining a genuine Haring is rooted in how the work maintained these same qualities as it moved from the underground (literally) to the galleries.
Potential works by Haring will be assessed on their visual content, materials used to create them, and determining whether their provenance is accurate. Though Haring exhibited with a limited group of galleries, a fair number of paintings and drawings shown at these spaces are documented. But there are also a large number of “liberated” subway drawings and artist “giveaways” with limited (if any) documentation. Though difficult to authenticate, these works can be successfully evaluated through careful research.