Keith Haring at Casino Knokke

Haring working on his mural at Casino Knokke, 1987

In 1987, Haring was invited to Knokke, Belgium by Roger Nellens to paint a mural at the casino there. Gustave Nellens, Rogers father, had commission murals by René Magritte and Paul Delvaux years earlier, and Roger followed suit by approaching Haring for a mural and proposing an exhibition of the artists work. To announce the opening of the exhibition, a select group of guests were invited to un déJeuner sur l'herbe (a lunch on the lawn) at the Nellens' home. On the invitations, Haring added green dots by hand to represent grass, and signed and sketched to the verso of each example. The luncheon took place in the Nellens’ sprawling garden situated next The Dragon, a fantastical playhouse designed by Niki de Saint Phalle, (Haring stayed in the playhouse during his time in Knokke and declared it one of his favorite places to work). During the party, Haring sketched on a helmet owned by one of the guests. At the time, Elderid mountain climbing helmets were also popular with skateboarders, hence the energetic skateboarding figure rendered by the artist on the present lot.

The Dragon by Niki de Saint Phalle, 1973

The moon was almost full last night and sleeping inside the Dragon at the Nellens’ house was really strange… light was pouring through all the round holes in the windows… Sleeping in Niki’s dragon is a lot like a dream anyway.

Keith Haring

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