Disegno e Colore: The Reconciliation of Two Rivals in the Art of Keith Haring

Two tendencies dominate painting in the 20th century. Firstly, the elimination of subjects in favor of the self-referentiality of art works, and secondly, the progressive separation of the medium which led to lines and colors being made absolute in Constructivism and Monochromism. The conflict between “disegno” and “colore,” first picked out as a central theme by Vasari1 in the 16th century in Florentine and Venetian painting, was fought out in the 17th century between supporters of Poussin and Rubens with just as much vehemence as it was in the 19th century between Ingres and Delacroix. Then in the 20th century a radicalization of positions led to the supposed “end of art.” The competing camps first experienced a reconciliation through Andy Warhol’s pop “Icons,” which combined the graphic (rational) element with the painterly (emotional) element and prepared the way for Keith Haring’s emblematic signs.

As Haring’s works became famous in the 1980s and 1990s and were reproduced in increasingly large editions, so they proportionately also lost their painterly and relevant qualities. However this led to a visual leveling of the differences caused by the material which are obvious in the original but no longer discernible in posters. The scarcely controllable popularity of perfectly smooth reprints of his work led instead to the filtering out of these works from the technical and historical context. Unlike electronic pictures, which cannot be traced back to the original and whose claim to originality in the sense of “uniqueness” cannot be ascertained, the technical reproduction of Haring’s pictures led to the aesthetics of the materials used being lost. That was why in later works the relationship of color to lines, material to painting support and composition to structure was to come to the fore.


When, in the early eighties, Haring displayed his first chalk drawings on the black sheets of paper which advertising firms pasted over expired advertisements in the New York subway stations, he was already showing a desire for communicative and publicly effective art. The simple, emblematic “stick men” of the quickly sketched Subway Drawings already made use of important stylistic features which left their mark on the whole of his work.

“Drawing with chalk on this smooth black paper was a completely new experience for me. It was one continuous line; no interruptions needed to be made, as with a brush or whatever else was already dipped in the paint. It was a continuous line, an extremely strong line graphically, and it was subject to a time limit. I had to work as fast as I could. And nothing could be corrected, So mistakes could not even be allowed, as it were. I had to be careful not to get caught.”2

In this way Haring identified three fundamental factors which applied to many of his works: conscious reduction on a monochrome support, the fast and fluid course of one continuous broad line and a simple repertoire of forms based on recognizability. Just like a caricature, Haring’s simplified and exaggeratedly portrayed cartoon men also strive for clarity, which accounts for their easy readability.3 Time played a double role in this: on the one hand, the illegally displayed Subway Drawings were produced under great pressure of time, on the other hand, they were conceived for a public which had only a fraction of a second to see them from the subway. Since their conception lasted for as short a time as their perception, Haring developed an extremely economical procedure: he relied on a collection of constantly recurring signs, which he put together repeatedly in new combinations. His stick men, the baby surrounded by radiating lines and the barking dog belong to his best-known subjects. Haring himself described them as “symbols,” “which are self-explanatory and extremely simple, but which in the combinations in which they are placed together or exclude each other, sometimes contradict each other…. I am more interested in an idea which also finds expression in William Burroughs’ cut-up technique: many different thoughts exist simultaneously.”4

The contradiction lies in the object itself. A “symbol” is understood to be a universally applicable and powerfully evocative sign which refers to a higher abstract sphere as well as to itself, then takes on an established and invariable meaning. This does not apply to Haring’s signs. His pictorial signs are modules whose meaning changes according to their configuration, with every change referring back to an earlier change. Even though this system leads to the possibility of tracing certain chains of subjects in Haring’s work back over the years and in various mediums, nevertheless a break becomes apparent in the middle of the 1980s which marks a conscious decision to take historical positions as a central theme.

If one considers the large mural in the casino in Knokke in Belgium, the simple, icon-like signs of a surface composition disappear, which need more time and patience to decipher. A closely woven net of black lines, painted in acrylic and indicating the graphic nature of the painting, stretches over the canvas. The work is particularly interesting because its development is almost completely documented: Haring began to paint the white-based canvas from left to right on June 20, 1987 at about midday. Without stepping back from the canvas, he drew a “gaming casino scene” which he completed at around 15.30 to the applause of the watching audience.

“First he drew the contours in black. He had a stepladder which he climbed up, so he could paint from top to bottom, then he pulled the ladder along a bit. We wanted him to have an assistant, but he refused. At the very least we offered to help him with the ladder. He did not want this. … Whilst painting the black outlines the music he had on was a pounding, very rhythmic heavy rock. When he laid down the colors the next day, the music was much more lyrical, violins or something.”5

The sweeping lines, which showed no sign of uncertainty, soon became outlines, then figures and finally a confused tableau of interlocking shapes and machines. They sprang from one spontaneous movement which ignored any kind of sketch or plan. Thus it is all the more astonishing that neither mistakes, corrections nor asymmetry in the proportions are to be found in any of Haring’s work. Perhaps this was why Claude Picasso compared Haring’s drawing style with that of his father, Pablo Picasso: “My father looked at a blank canvas, then stood in front of it and started to paint without planning. When he stepped back from the easel, the picture was complete. And Keith painted … in just the same way.”6 Actually that comparison with Picasso was inevitable, not just because of his direct drawing style, but also because of the obvious iconography of the mural Guernica.

A comparison of the works indicates that in both cases we are dealing with a monumental story-picture whose colorfulness comes second to the all-powerfulness of the lines. Picasso’s picture, which was painted in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War, took as its theme the air-raid on the Basque village of Guernica. It protested against the inhuman cruelty of modern warfare, which in this case was directed exclusively against the civilian population and not against strategic targets. Without wishing to go into the complex iconography of “secularized pictures of the Passion” (Werner Spies)7 in more detail, mention should be made of the subjects Haring took up as quotations and whose content he reinterpreted. These included the two-eyed animals squashed into two dimensions, the vacant-looking creatures in the center and the horse with the wide-flaring nostrils, as well as the dangerous-looking cylindrical eye and the light hanging down from the ceiling which in Picasso suggest associative references to firebombs and in Haring portray the borders of the (dark) realm of death.

Even though it appears presumptuous to compare Picasso’s reminder of the war with one of Haring’s gaming casino scenes, both pictures do take a threat as their theme. In Picasso’s work this threat is based on the death-dealing machinery of war, in Haring’s work bank notes and one-armed bandits portray the real danger. It is noticeable that with the transformation of the historical into a “social” motif it is no longer suffering which is in the spotlight, but grief. Thus the helmeted robots are actually part of the scenario of horror, but any emotionality, emotiveness or ability to suffer seems to have been lost. Haring’s protagonists are the victims of a self-inflicted craving for pleasure, compared with which only death can do more damage. In this respect the significance is that Haring’s painted drawings – in contrast to Picasso’s more graphic grisaille painting – dispense with every kind of historical referentiality (temporality) and location (three-dimensionality).

Inversion of lines

Haring’s drawings on a black background, done in acrylic and sumi ink, and seemingly covered with soft white lines, are of graphic quality (cat. no. 27). In both versions Haring used the same technique. He chose a negative-like process, in which the lines were replaced by “empty areas” through which the white support (vellum-paper) appeared. He let the raw surface appear as the fine white lines defining the black areas. There is an inversion of lines, comparable to Frank Stella’s early paintings, which flow into the interchangeable figure-ground relation. Black usually goes into the background, the bright light of the white shines at the observer. Since the black Indian ink in Haring’s work rests on the paper more as an opaque film of color, it is closer to the observer than the white. Thus Haring places the psychologically perceived appearance of colors in opposition to their materially limited three-dimensionality.


At the same time as he was drawing with acrylic and sumi ink, Haring was developing a graphic style of painting in which brightly colored areas were outlined by thick black lines (cat. no. 21). Besides black and white, which were Haring’s preferred colors for the background and the outlines, he worked particularly with red, blue, yellow and green colors. His rich, shining tones are devoid of any modulation. Since they experience no influence through a body on which they can be broken, they spread flatly and exhibit a signal-like effect. Haring’s compositions know no “light” and “shade”. What creates the effect is the colors portraying an inherent “separate light,” a phenomenological unity of light and color.8 Technically, Haring achieves this impression by using acrylic colors which not only dry boldly and smoothly, but also achieve a “gaudily”-shining color effect when applied thickly.9 Moreover, the black border both outlines and contrasts. The effect of this “cloisonne style”10 in painting, which had already been established around 1890 by the Pont-Aven school (Emile Bernard and Paul Gauguin) was produced by the neutralizing (black) border preserving the valency of the separate shades, whilst counteracting the opposite effect of the mixture of colors on the retina. Limited perception of this superimposition, which might otherwise be observed in the interference lines, was thus avoided. Instead of which, bold and unequivocal “signs” are produced which actually have a greater long distance effect in Haring’s work.

Generally Haring’s work reveals two different methods of handling color. On the one hand there is the flat, homogeneous application of color which shows parallels with polychromatic printing, on the other hand there is the consciously painterly approach which follows on from historical models. In the former the colors lie on top of the painting’s background like a paper pattern (cat. no. 21). The immaculate flat expanse ends abruptly at the black outlines and allows a glimpse of the background to appear here and there from behind.11 By painting the larger parts with a “wide paintbrush” (wallpaper brush) Haring reduced the visible characteristic flow to a minimum.

Photographs, showing how the Ten Commandments were painted, document Haring’s unconventional method of painting. Two things stand out: the first is that Haring painted the colored surfaces first and then the outlines. Instead of drawing shapes, he outlined them afterwards. Thus he gave the impression that he considered lines to be pre-eminently aesthetic and rather less formally restricting points of view. But by making the lines and thus the drawing become components of the pictures and putting the painting in the background of the drawing, he overcame the dispute between “disegno e colore.”

One further unusual feature of Haring’s method of painting was that he worked simultaneously on several pictures such as the Ten Commandments. By painting all the red areas first, then all the gray, green and finally all the yellow ones, he set up a parallel procedure which belonged more to printing than to painting, in opposition to the classical principle of composition which is based on sequence. This extremely economic procedure made it possible to work at a very fast pace,12 but also meant that he had to complete his pictures in his mind before making the first stroke with the brush.

In parallel with the “printing-like” procedure, Haring developed a second, “painterly” procedure in the mid-1980s which no longer replaced the personal characteristic style, but became a theme in his art. The formal revaluation of the painterly action was accompanied by a shift in the content of his motifs. Before, Haring had confined himself to autonomous signs, now he translated the traditional subjects of Classical Modernism into a personal and “up-to-date” use Df forms. Next to Picasso he argued most of all with Henri Matisse who endeavored to reconcile “colors” and “lines”. Haring noted down in his diary the following newspaper item about Matisse: “Matisse himself says that signs are things of the mind and colors things of the senses, and that both are in perpetual conflict. Matisse believed he could marry the two enemies in his collages by drawing in color. … One single movement … [thus] connected lines with colors and outlines with spaces.”13

Haring must have felt drawn to the formulation of drawing in colors since he later looked critically and in detail at Matisse’s Atelier rouge (1911) and this experience is echoed in a picture with the title Red Room (1988).

In Haring’s interior a woman lies stretched out on a chaise lounge in the style of Manet’s Olympia with her arms clasped behind her head, looking straight at the observer. By introducing her into the “real” context of the picture he removed her from her “fictitious” picture world to which she remained banished in Matisse’s work. A further change was also effected: Matisse still arranged the classical still-life elements (a glass, a plant, a fruit bowl) in the foreground of his picture, whilst Haring moved technical artifacts of our modern times (television and telephone) into the middle of the picture. The works of artists do not lean against the wall of the Red Room as in Matisse’s work, but stylized versions of Rauschenberg’s “Line pictures” and Johns’ “Targets” hang there. But Haring made a decisive break by valuing the proportion of color and lines in a different way from Matisse, In Matisse’s work the flat monochrome impression still predominates; in Haring’s work the roughly and quickly drawn lines, which cover the entire surface of the picture like a decoration, are engraved in the mind. Even though the techniques differed, both achieved a comparable “three-dimensionalization”: Matisse through the omnipresence of colors and extensive renunciation of contrast rich lines, and Haring through the omnipresence of lines subordinate to the lightly applied colors but not to time. A study of Haring’s application of color shows he combined leaving areas partially blank (cf. Matisse) with Jackson Pollock’s “drippings.”

Materials and support

In 1987 Jean Tinguely recommended that his friend Roger Nellens, the art collector, should entrust Haring with the execution of a mural, and advised him: “Why don’t you ask Keith Haring? … Keith who will paint anywhere, even your chandelier.”14 The humorous characterization of Haring’s over-extravagant energy makes clear that there was hardly any surface which he had not painted. Thus his pictures were to be found outside on walls, in the subway, on clothes, on stage sets, on automobiles, on airships and on the human body. In addition they were painted on such conventional supports as paper, canvas, cotton and PVC. Materials and techniques also varied according to the background. As well as white chalk and magic markers (the thicker felt tip pens of the graffiti artists). sumi ink, oil, acrylics and vinyl paints were all part of Haring’s regular repertoire.

In contrast with other artists, for whom the choice of support depended more on technical than aesthetic considerations, Haring changed his preferred support in 1982 for commercial reasons. The immediate cause was his first one-man exhibition in Tony Shafrazi’s New York gallery, for which he needed transportable and saleable art pieces: “Now until this time I had … only ever done drawings, but for the exhibition I wanted to paint a pair of large pictures something I had always resisted until then. The reason was my aversion to canvas. What always bothered me about canvas was this feeling that it already appeared to represent a certain value before it had been even touched. I found that I did not have the same freedom with it that I had when I worked on paper because paper was unpretentious, easily available and not as expensive. Moreover, canvas embodied for me all the historical baggage – and was simply a psychological block for me.”15

The desire of many American artists after the 1950s to free themselves from the “encumbrance of western tradition”16 in the choice of a different material or an unusual technique led Haring to paint on vinyl tarpaulins first, before he replaced them with canvas in 1985: “One day I saw a couple of construction workers on the street who had just covered up their tools with these vinyl tarpaulins which had nothing but little metal eyes round the edge. So I went up to them to look at them and decided to buy a couple of these tarpaulins.”17

Haring’s decision to choose a material to paint on which until then had only been known in art from Christo’s packaging, Claes Oldenburg’s “Soft Sculptures” and the balloon-like aerial sculptures of the ZERO Group, expressed a supposed attitude of protest, as he pronounced himself opposed to the established gallery idea and in favor of “street culture”. The fact is that Haring valued the availability of those eyelets with which the sheets were usually fastened: “I … was shown the tarpaulins which were made in various colors and every size you could wish for, I ordered the ones I wanted and explained to them at what distance the eyelets should be fixed,”18

As can be seen, for example from Untitled (1982), the soft vinyl tarpaulins (PVC sheets) had a flat and brightly shining surface which allowed them to be worked on as though they were textiles.19 Since with vinyl we are dealing with an industrially manufactured material which was usually produced to the specifications of functional requirements in signal colors, the shining red, yellow or green are also to be found in Haring’s pictures. The tarpaulins vary in size mostly between 150 x 150 cm and 350 x 350 cm. To paint the tarpaulins Haring needed thin gloss paint which left a distinctive trail of color and traces of drips.


The spectrum of Haring’s techniques ranges from etching to lithography and silk-screen printing, to drawing and painting and also includes graffiti. As far as the painting process is concerned, two procedures can be distinguished which can briefly be described as “easel-painting” and “floor-painting.” The former means painting on a canvas which is hanging or standing vertically, the latter refers to Haring’s performance of action painting, which is reminiscent of Pollock’s “action painting,”

There is a video from 1979 with the title, Me – how I paint myself into a corner. The film shows Haring painting a white floor space which he is systematically covering with black lines. The filming shows obvious parallels with Hans Namuth’s art film on Jackson Pollock recorded in 1950, in which the black silhouette of the “painter-matador” circles around the canvas in a kind of dance, To this day pictures of colors splashed and dripping down typify our idea of “action painting.”20 If Pollock’s action is compared with Haring’s, then in both cases an extremely concentrated “physical way of painting” (Haring)21“can be seen in which the action of painting rather than the picture resulting from it” is foregrounded,22 but the driving force is completely different: in Pollock’s case it is a matter of spontaneous and barely controlled verifiable automatism, whilst Haring’s application of color with a brush recalls an act of calligraphy in which the canvas is systematically inscribed from top left to bottom right. If account is taken of the analysis of individual sequences from Namuth’s film which led to Pepe Karmel’s most recent discovery that Pollock’s network of lines comes from the figurative ground structure before they become lost in “all-over”, then parallels can actually be drawn with regard to their content with Haring’s figurative drawing system, but not with the process which produced them. The fact that Haring was committed to classical “painting” earlier in his career proved his disciplined way of working just as much as the fact that from the beginning he “framed” his pictures: “The reason why I insist … first of all on drawing a border round the space which I want to paint is that I have to familiarize myself with the extent of the picture that I want to paint. I physically put a border for myself round a given area within the whole space.”23

With this conscious connection of his work back to painting, Haring disregards the achievements of Abstract Expressionism and asks the question just why he is a symbol of the graffiti movement when he never actually belonged to it.

Graffiti or picture

Although Haring never actually belonged to the New York graffiti scene, the label of the rebellious “street kids” has continued to stick to him and Jean-Michel Basquiat. But instead of taking an active part in the sprayer scene, he curated exhibitions by the younger graffiti artists and thus offered them a forum which by 1982 he no longer needed. Haring’s early Subway Drawings are classed as spray-painting experiences, whose illegal origin resulted from a comparably transitory, emotional pressure. The social protest which was expressed through the place of installation thus provided just as important common ground there as the hope of gaining an anonymous identity through the pictures. Even though Haring did not sign any of his Subway Drawings and the graffiti artists only worked with restricted “tags,”24 both still needed a medium which achieved an enormous public response.25

In Haring’s case the degree of “illegality” which remained with them was extremely calculated. He drew with washable chalk instead of with spray paints which were not readily soluble, he painted unused advertising panels instead of expensive subway trains and kept strictly to the prescribed poster format without painting beyond the edges. By choosing as the support for his painting not walls, but pre-prepared, panel-like sheets of paper which hung on the walls in a square or rectangular format, he also created picture-like conditions for himself in the New York subway. Granted, in general a “cross-over” between the genres occurs in Haring’s work, but only in the way he paints, not in his style.

The contradiction between forced understanding and Haring’s conduct is clear from a photograph taken in 1986 which shows him in front of the Berlin Wall. Since he had already painted part of it first with a brush, Haring allowed himself to be photographed in front of the completed work with a spray can in his hand, with which he had just sprayed his name and the date of creation. Thus the photograph was a symbol that Haring just did not belong to any graffiti group, a fact which he tried to establish all his life. Rather he remained the painter who at the time of the photograph was already exhibiting in the most important New York galleries, offering for sale his framed silk-screen prints in the style of a St Petersburg wall hanging. But his strength lay precisely in this paradox. By outwardly professing to reject the establishment which he was in fact serving as the most professional of all the artists of the eighties, he functioned as a link between the established art world and the “street culture” which disapproved of it.

Composition and structure

If one looks at the mural produced in Knokke then this has a proportionally balanced arrangement of picture elements which make up the basis of each composition. The painting possesses an identified center, the round fruit machine, flanked on both sides by large figures. If one compares the early stages of the picture with the finished version, then one realizes that Haring’s principle for composition is based first of all on “construction” and then on “completion.” Though a hierarchical structure can be seen at the beginning, this is lost at the end in an egalitarian “all-over” of figures and signs.

Complication of the picture’s construction and its motifs enters Haring’s work the moment the reception parameters are changed. A simple, easily accessible conception underlies the Subway Drawings, but this is changed in the “gallery pictures” to one for which there is usually sufficient time for perception. An example of such a complex picture structure is Haring’s painting The Last Rainforest, produced in 1989 (cat. no. 36).

On a support painted with a cadmium red acrylic layer, a calligraphic network of yellow lines is spread out and covered with a black network of cartoon-like signs. Haring thus combines the principle of monochromy (abstraction) with that of drawing (figuration). A tangle of orange-yellow lines which Haring quickly applied with a brush forms a link between the two layers. The structure, which had been very hastily worked up at the beginning, soon faded into the background, when it represented just the surface of the story, which can only ever be partially understood, as a blazing sea of color. Whereas a comparable color structure in the work of Ad Reinhardt or Mark Tobey in the sixties led to uncompromising abstraction, in Haring’s work it formed the connecting link between the color ground (colore) and the drawing (disegno). By projecting the different focal planes one on top of the other, Haring linked the graphic with the painterly and counteracted the separation of the medium described at the beginning. Since, moreover, the colors admit associative references to fire, and apocalyptic events underpin the drawing, an interaction between the formal picture structure and its content-related counterpart occurs. The drawing of The Last Rainforest shows no procedural sequence of actions, but documented instead the synchronous occurrence of countless individual actions. Even though the shapes are linked with one another through a tree structure, they also have nothing to do with each other. A further change allows the “animal”, which shows a comical mixture of comic and mythical creatures, to be observed. By creating creatures from the artist’s imagination and not from a real model, they differ fundamentally from Haring’s emblematic “dog” whose visible characteristics are a consequence of radical reduction. Whilst in the case of the dog the procedure is imitative and mimetic, the mythical creatures only refer to themselves. Haring speaks about this difference when he says: “The drawings which I do have very little in common with drawings in the classical sense as they developed during the Renaissance, and the drawings that imitate life or make a lifelike impression. My drawings do not try to imitate life, they try to create life, to invent life.”26

With the claim that he wants to generate “life” in his drawings, Haring distances himself from Pop Art and also from his model Andy Warhol. Whereas Pop Art took its subjects from printed patterns and appropriated familiar motifs from commerce, Haring worked out his own personal momentum. The difference lies in the fact that Warhol went on to often more cheerful subjects which he reproduced with greater technical seriousness, whereas Haring tackled the problem of serious subjects such as AIDS, drugs and death, but portrayed them in what was presumed to be a cheerful and superficial way. That he came in for much stronger criticism for this than Warhol is self-evident.

Reconciliation of “disegno e colore”

If one wanted to attribute the dispute between color and line in the 20th century by taking just three artists as examples, then one could name Fernand Leger, Keith Haring and Bruce Nauman. In this instance their chronology represents “separation” (Leger), “reconciliation” (Haring) and “congruence” (Nauman). What they have in common is that they all loved color and line equally. The closeness of their work indicates that they also showed a comparable affinity for” colors of the street.”

Leger was the one who started it. His feeling for his work is characterized by the desire to free colors from their links with objects. When he arrived in America in 1942 he observed a defining phenomenon for his art: “When I was in New York in 1942 I was astonished by the neon signs which flooded the streets around Broadway. You spoke to someone, and suddenly he was blue. Then the color changed, and he was red or yellow… the color of the light was a free spirit. I wanted to do the same thing in my pictures. “27

Not long after that, the first pictures of Leger’s Diver Series were produced in which black lines were laid down over block-like color segments in red, blue, yellow and green. The painted areas in the picture shine like independent color qualities in the same way as the colored neon lights emitted from objects. Leger’s curved lines form sexless bodies which, when fragmented into their component parts, portray a whole range of body shapes combinable in any way you like.

It is evident that Haring knew about Leger’s position in the argument over color and line and “was working towards an almost ‘identical’ system,”28 from the Sidney Janis Gallery invitation card he painted and a diary entry from 1987: “I acknowledge that I am indebted to him [Leger] just as I am to all the earlier artists from whom I have learnt anything (such as Picasso, Warhol, Matisse, etc.). Crucially I may well in fact have borrowed or (if you like) stolen his technique of colors with black lines laid on top (they were also used by Miro), but I have made them my own by using them in my own way.”29

Haring described his explanation of Leger’s art as a process of incorporation, which meant that in fact he adopted Leger’s stylistic approach but changed it to fit in with his own ideas. Haring’s painted drawings, which attached the same value to colors as to lines, proved that this was in fact an act of transformation, not of adaptation and introduced the “reconciliation” between “disegno e colore.”

The debate found its formal conclusion in Bruce Nauman’s “neon signs”, colors and lines technically as well as aesthetically combined. By painting colorful silhouettes of clowns, the neon tubes of Mean Clown Welcome (1985) gave them a visible shape. An ambivalent function was thus given to light: on the one hand it formed the lines and thus the work, and on the other hand it simultaneously just dissolved them again by its flat radiation. Thus the materialization of the light (in the form of visible lines) opposed the dematerialization of the fluorescent body through the light (in the form of haloes). Since one was not possible without the other, lines without colors and colors without lines were also inconceivable. Consequently, the relationship of colors and lines led precisely to the point of congruence, showing their mutual resolution again. It is therefore accepted that for future generations of artists the development from Leger through Haring to Nauman will run, not in a linear way, but cyclically and thus retrogressively.


  1. Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the Painters, Sculptors and Architects, London 1927
  2. Keith Haring, quoted in: Jason Rubell, Keith Haring: The Last Interview, in: Arts Magazine, September 1990, p. 59.
  3. Ct. Ernst H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion. A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation, 4th ed., London 1972, pp, 368
  4. Keith Haring, in: exhib. cat. The Whitney Museum of American Art, Keith Haring, New York 1997, p. 18.
  5. Roger Nellens, in: John Gruen, Keith Haring. The Authorized Biography, London 1991, pp. 177
  6. Claude Picasso, in: Gruen (op. cit. n.5), p. 175.
  7. Cf. Ludwig Ullmann, Picasso und der Krieg, Bielefeld 1993, pp. 93-155.Ullmann lists the complex and historically varied interpretations of the individual motifs in the picture in table form in his chapter on “The pictorial content and iconography of ‚Guernica‚,” He also expands the political impact of Picasso‚s horse, bull, lamp and dead warriors.
  8. Wolfgang Schone, Uber das Licht in der Malerei (1954), 9th ed. Berlin 1994, pp. 9ff.
  9. Acrylic paints date back to the twenties, when quick-drying, weather-proof paints were needed for wall paintings outdoor.
  10. Cloissone style had its origin in medieval cathedral windows, where the dark lead strip between the colored pieces of glass brought about a similar effect.
  11. Comparable missing colors or overlaps are also to be found in Warhol‚s silk-screen prints. Although the technical process is quite different, it is only in the portrait series that the flat complexions repeatedly go beyond the marked lines. Cf. exhib. cat. Anthony d‚Offay Gallery, Andy Warhol. Portraits of the Seventies and Eighties, London 1993.
  12. For his exhibition of work in Bordeaux Haring arrived three days before the exhibition opened to paint ten monumental prestretched canvases. Ct. exhib. cat. Museum Fridericianum, Keith Haring, Die Zehn Gebote (The Ten Commandments), Kassel 1987.
  13. Mark Stevens (Earthly Paradise, in: Newsweek, dated September 19, 1977), on Keith Haring, in: Keith Haring, Journals, New York/London 1996, p. 36.
  14. Keith Haring, in: Gruen (op. cit. n.5), p.177.
  15. Keith Haring, in: Gruen (op. cit. n.5), p.85.
  16. Barnett Newman: The Sublime is Now. (1948), in: Barnett Newman. Selected Writings and Interviews, ed. by John P. O‚Neill, University of California Press 1992, pp.176-180.
  17. Keith Haring, in: Gruen (op. cit. n.5), p.85.
  18. Keith Haring, in: Gruen (op. cit. n.5), p.85.
  19. Cf. on the material aesthetic of PVC generally known as vinyl: Monika Wagner, Das Material der Kunst, Eine andere Geschichte der Modeme, Munich 2001, p.193 and 255.
  20. Cf. Pepe Karmel, Pollock at Work. The Films and Photographs of Hans Namuth, in: exhib. cat. The Museum of Modern Art, Jackson Pollock, New York 1998, p. 87-137.
  21. Keith Haring, in: Keith Haring, Journals, New York/London 1996, p. 20.
  22. Keith Haring, ibid. p.1S.
  23. Keith Haring, op.cit. p. 27.
  24. In addition Haring explains: “Graffiti artists indicated their signature, and thus their name, which was usually a fantasy name, by a ‚tag‚, My sign was an animal, which increasingly took on the appearance of a dog. Then I drew a little man who was crawling on all fours, and the more often I drew it the more like a baby it became,” Keith Haring, in Gruen: (op. cit. n.5), p. 65.
  25. Johannes Stahl, Graffiti zwischen Alitag und Asthetik, Munich 1990, p. 6.
  26. Keith Haring, in: Germano Celant, Keith Haring, Munich 1992, p.116.
  27. Fernand Leger, in: Fernand Leger. Das figurliche Werk (Figurative Work), exhib. cat. Kunsthalle Koln, Cologne 1978, p.69.
  28. Keith Haring, op. cit. p.185.
  29. Keith Haring, op. cit. p.182.