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Paris-Keith Haring-St Eustache-Triptych-GoldOne of Keith Haring’s “Life of Christ” is located in the Saint-Eustache Church in Paris

Welcome back to our series  , where we’re locating architecture and other quirky finds that are in both cities, such as the multiple versions of the Statue of Liberty.

“The Life of Christ” was Keith Haring‘s last work before his death. According to a firsthand account by his friend Sam Havadtoy, Haring used a loop knife to draw the altarpiece into clay: “the images came directly from his head…He never stopped to rethink the line; he never edited himself and never made corrections. The lines he carved in the clay were seamless, flawless.”

There are at nine versions of this triptych, cast in bronze and covered in white gold. One is located in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan, the church where the altarpiece was dedicated during his memorial service.

Keith Haring Triptych-St John the Divine-Morningside-Manhattan-NYC-Paris
Keith Haring “Life of Christ” at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Another is permanently located at the Saint-Eustache Church near Les Halles in the first arrondissement. The triptych was donated to the church by the Haring Foundation of New York in 2003 and has been standing there ever since, despite the Catholic Church’s prior official stance on homosexuality.

Yet another is located in Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. As for the symbols on the work, Havdtoy describes the moment Haring created the piece: The images “were religious: an inspiration of the life of Christ; a baby held by a pair of hands; hands ascending toward heaven; Christ on the cross. On one side panel he depicted the resurrection. On the other, a fallen angel. When Keith finished, as he stepped back and gazed at this work, he said, “Man, this is really heavy.” Haring passed away two weeks later.

Read more from our NYC v. Paris series! Get in touch with the author @untappedmich

1 Comment

  1. Ronald L Rice says:

    Great article, Michelle. I saw this piece today at St. Johns and it is very beautiful and moving.

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