Tag Archives: CoBrA

Pierre Alechinsky on Keith Haring

Red Yellow Blue #3, 1987 by Keith Haring

As a young artist Keith Haring was greatly influenced by the work of Pierre Alechinsky, a key figure of the CoBrA art movement.  An upcoming exhibition at the NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale Confrontation:  Keith Haring and Pierre Alechinsky, connects the work of Haring to Alechinsky and CoBrA, emphasizing the legacy of CoBrA, a movement which eroded artistic and social barriers by bringing work into the streets and adapting non-traditional creative sources including children’s art and pre-historic visual culture in order to instigate social change.

While commemorating the anniversary of Keith Haring’s death, 32 years ago today, it’s heartening to consider and celebrate the way art can inspire and connect people across decades and movements.

On the occasion of this exhibition, Pierre Alechinsky was asked to write some thoughts about his experience with Keith Haring, which he has graciously allowed us to share below.



K.H. (1958-1990) 


P.A. (1927-…)

Keith Haring was 19 when he visited, in Pittsburgh, the retrospective of the fifty something I was becoming in 1977. Many years later, I was surprised to learn that this visit was for him «the reason» for a life choice: to become an artist. 

Had he seen a sign of encouragement in some shape or color or line? Still, he introduced me into his biography. So much so that the staff of the Whitney Museum borrowed my painting Central Park (1965) from me for his retrospective in 1997. Twenty years earlier, the artist had been struck by the work at the Carnegie Museum of Art, my first with «marginal remarks». Keith had wanted that to be known. 

Having become famous, he came to see me. 

Studio visit in the company of an editor… whose name I have forgotten. Sometimes, often, now more and more, my memory is fading, as Jeanne Moreau sang in the sixties. 

               Stop ! 

We are in 2022. I am ninety-five years old. My old brain tells me that it has just found a scrap of memory. On the port side: we recognize K.H. in P.A.’s workshop in Bougival in 1984. He offers a t-shirt decorated with his hand. To starboard: we see P.A. dedicating to K.H. a Chinese ink work on writings from another era. 


Keith Haring avait 19 ans lorsqu’il visita, à Pittsburgh, la rétrospective du quinquagénaire que je devenais en 1977. Bien des années plus tard, j’ai eu la surprise d’apprendre que cette visite fut pour lui la «cause occasionnelle» d’un choix de vie: devenir artiste. 

Avait-t-il vu un signe d’encouragement dans je ne sais quelle forme, couleur ou ligne? Toujours est-il qu’il m’introduisit dans sa biographie. Tant et si bien que le staff du Whitney Museum m’emprunta Central Park pour sa rétrospective en 1997. Vingt ans plus tôt, l’artiste avaitété frappé au Carnegie Museum of Art par mon premier tableau de 1965 «remarques marginale». Keith avait tenu à ce que cela se sache.

Devenu célèbre, il vint me voir. 

            Visite d’atelier en compagnie d’un éditeur… dont j’ai oublié le nom. Parfois, souvent, à présent de plus en plus, j’ai la mémoire qui flanche, comme chantait Jeanne Moreau dans les années soixante.

Stop ! 

Nous sommes en 2022. J’ai quatre-vingt quinze ans. Ma vieille cervelle me signale qu’elle vient de retrouver une bribe de souvenir. À babord: on reconnaît K.H. dans l’atelier de P.A. à Bougival en 1984.  Il lui offre un t-shirtorné de sa main. À tribord: on aperçoit P.A. dédicaçant à K.H. une encre de Chine sur des écritures d’une autre époque.

Pierre Alechinsky                    

9 Février 2022