Europe's Biggest Keith Haring Mural Has Been Discovered in Amsterdam

Mandatory Credit: Photo by REMKO DE WAAL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (9724796a)
A view of the enormous mural painted by the US artist Keith Haring in 1986 on the wall of the former depot of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 22 June 2018. The mural was then only visible for a few years and disappeared behind aluminum sheets that were removed after almost 30 years.
Keith Haring mural made visible in Amsterdam, Netherlands - 22 Jun 2018
Mandatory Credit: Photo by REMKO DE WAAL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (9724796a) A view of the enormous mural painted by the US artist Keith Haring in 1986 on the wall of the former depot of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 22 June 2018. The mural was then only visible for a few years and disappeared behind aluminum sheets that were removed after almost 30 years. Keith Haring mural made visible in Amsterdam, Netherlands - 22 Jun 2018 | © REMKO DE WAAL / EPA-EFE / REX / Shutterstock
After remaining hidden for almost 30 years, an enormous Keith Haring mural has been uncovered in Amsterdam. Haring left this monumental artwork to the city as a gift and completed it while working on another project for Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum – but until now, it has been concealed from view.

Haring painted the piece in question onto the side of the Stedelijk’s storage facility in Amsterdam-West, over the course of two days in 1986. Like many other artworks by Haring from this period, the mural features abstract, cartoon-like figures outlined with thick brushstrokes – in this case, a human riding a dog-headed sea monster. As the mural measures 12 metres from top to bottom, it is the largest Keith Haring artwork currently located in Europe (a title that was previously held by another wall-spanning piece in Pisa, Italy).

Mandatory Credit: Photo by REMKO DE WAAL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (9724796c) A view of the enormous mural painted by the US artist Keith Haring in 1986 on the wall of the former depot of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 22 June 2018. The mural was then only visible for a few years and disappeared behind aluminum sheets that were removed after almost 30 years. Keith Haring mural made visible in Amsterdam, Netherlands - 22 Jun 2018 © REMKO DE WAAL / EPA-EFE / REX / Shutterstock

Haring came to Amsterdam to create a solo exhibition for the Stedelijk in 1986 and decided to paint the mural as a parting gift to the city. Although the artwork was meant for public display, soon after it was completed, the mural was completely covered by aluminum plating that was installed on the depot’s outer walls in order to control its internal temperature. Eventually, the Stedelijk sold the storage facility to another organisation called Markt Kwartier West, who considered demolishing it to make way for another building project.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by REMKO DE WAAL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (9724796d) A view of the enormous mural painted by the US artist Keith Haring in 1986 on the wall of the former depot of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 22 June 2018 (issued 25 June). The mural was then only visible for a few years and disappeared behind aluminum sheets that were removed after almost 30 years. Keith Haring mural made visible in Amsterdam, Netherlands - 22 Jun 2018 © REMKO DE WAAL / EPA-EFE / REX / Shutterstock

After discovering that the building could soon be demolished, a team of local campaigners led by graffiti artist Mick La Rock (Aileen Middel) and gallery owner Olivier Varossieau successfully lobbied against the depot’s demolition. On June 18, 2018, Haring’s mural was once again unveiled to the public after it had spent almost three decades hidden from view.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by REMKO DE WAAL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (9724796a) A view of the enormous mural painted by the US artist Keith Haring in 1986 on the wall of the former depot of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 22 June 2018. The mural was then only visible for a few years and disappeared behind aluminum sheets that were removed after almost 30 years. Keith Haring mural made visible in Amsterdam, Netherlands - 22 Jun 2018 © REMKO DE WAAL / EPA-EFE / REX / Shutterstock

As it happens, the Stedelijk recently revealed another artwork created by Haring during his time in Amsterdam, specifically a large velum canvas painted with dancing figures, which is currently installed above the museum’s central staircase where it filters light through an overhead window.