Conservators returned Keith Haring’s Parisian mural to its original brilliance.
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The team preserved Haring’s original brushstrokes.
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Jacob ©Keith Haring Foundation, Courtesy Noirmontartproduction, Paris.
Keith Haring
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Alen MacWeeney/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images.
Haring Mural Restored
Conservators save a mural by a famous American street artist in France

Alexandra Franklin | for Scholastic Art

Keith Haring was passionate about bridging the gap between the high art found in museums and the street art created in public places. The artist painted murals on building walls and inside subway stations. Recently, a Haring mural on the exterior of a children’s hospital in Paris, France, was on the brink of demolition. But the Keith Haring Foundation teamed up with a gallerist to restore the famous street artist’s mural to its original brilliance.

A Mural for the Children

The 88.5-foot-high mural, called Tower, has been an icon in Paris since Haring completed it in 1987. The artist painted it on the outer wall of the Necker-Enfants Malades hospital, which he referred to as “the ugly building.” He wanted to brighten the dull gray exterior with his signature cartoonish figures and pops of color. The mural features figures representing both adults and children rendered in bold outlines.

When he was finished with the monumental mural, Haring wrote in his diary, “I made this painting to amuse the sick children in this hospital, now and in the future.” For years, the painting did just that. But over time, it sustained serious damage from exposure to the elements. In 2011, hospital officials decided to renovate the building and invited experts to assess the mural’s condition. The mural was in such disrepair that some feared it couldn’t be saved.

Painstaking Restoration

A gallerist named Jérôme de Noirmont, working in conjunction with the Keith Haring Foundation, successfully raised the funds needed to save the mural. Conservators carefully restored it through a process of cleaning and varnishing. They added new paint only when necessary to preserve Haring’s original brushstrokes. Thanks to their painstaking work, the mural will continue to provide the hospital’s patients with a bright, uplifting view for years to come.