Keith Haring Montreux 1983 Jazz Festival Poster: A  Symphony of Art and Music

Keith Haring Montreux 1983 Jazz Festival Poster: A Symphony of Art and Music

The Montreux Jazz Festival: A Melting Pot of Art and Music

The Montreux Jazz Festival, a renowned music festival founded in 1967 by Claude Nobs, is held annually in the picturesque town of Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva, Switzerland. The festival, which spans over two weeks in July, has become a highly sought-after event for music enthusiasts from around the world. Over the years, it has showcased a plethora of international and local talent, spanning various genres from jazz, rock, and pop to electronic and classical music. The festival, with its unique appeal, has attracted a multitude of artists, musicians, and enthusiasts, forging a creative nexus that transcends musical genres.


Keith Haring: The Mastermind Behind The Iconic 1983 Poster

Keith Haring, born in 1958, was an American artist who gained prominence in the early 1980s for his unique visual language and social activism. With a distinct style characterized by bold lines, bright colors, and playful characters, Haring's art is easily recognizable and resonates with audiences of all ages. His work has often been celebrated for its messages of love, unity, and activism, as well as for its commitment to breaking down barriers between high art and popular culture. Keith Haring’s journey into art began in his childhood, inspired by the works of artists like Dr. Seuss and Walt Disney. Later in life, he moved to New York and honed his skills at the School of Visual Arts. While in New York, he immersed himself in the burgeoning street art scene and quickly rose to fame with his public art installations in subways. These "chalk drawings" – simple, cartoon-like characters on blank advertising panels – became synonymous with Haring's style and propelled him into the global spotlight.

Commissioning Keith Haring for the Montreux Jazz Festival Poster

In 1983, the Montreux Jazz Festival commissioned Keith Haring to create the official poster for the festival. The festival, known for its eclectic fusion of art and music, saw in Haring an artist whose work mirrored its own ethos of inclusivity, diversity, and creativity. Haring's art, with its playful characters and unpretentious style, was seen as a perfect fit for the festival's vibrant atmosphere. Haring's iconic poster for the 1983 Montreux Jazz Festival featured his signature characters in a joyous, musical tableau. The composition was filled with dancing figures and musical instruments, set against a vivid background. Haring created three original graphics for the poster in yellow, pink, and green variations. The exuberant and dynamic poster became an instant classic and remains one of the most recognizable images associated with the Montreux Jazz Festival.

A Retrospective of Keith Haring's Notable Works

Throughout his career, Keith Haring produced a vast body of work that included murals, sculptures, and paintings. His art has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums worldwide and continues to be celebrated for its originality and accessibility. One of Haring's most notable works is "Pop Shop III," a series of four prints that feature his signature characters in different compositions. Created in 1989, "Pop Shop III" exemplifies Haring's ability to transform mundane scenes into lively, spirited tableaus. These prints were part of a broader initiative by Haring to bring art to the masses by creating affordable and accessible merchandise. Another prominent work by Haring is the "Crack is Wack" mural, which was created in 1986 on a handball court in New York. The mural, which depicts a monstrous figure holding a crack pipe, was Haring's response to the crack cocaine epidemic that was ravaging communities in the 1980s. The mural's stark imagery and powerful message exemplify Haring's commitment to social activism through art.

Own a Piece of History

The full set of all three (yellow, pink, and green) original graphics from Keith Haring's 1983 Montreux Jazz Festival poster is available to purchase from the Artmarket Gallery, located in Cottingham, East Yorkshire. These iconic posters, with their lively figures and vibrant colors, are a testament to Haring's indelible impact on the worlds of art and music.

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