When it first debuted in 1986, Keith Haring's mural in Amsterdam was hard to miss. Painted as a gift for the Dutch capital city, the 40-foot-tall design covered a brick wall on an art storage facility for the Stedelijk Museum. But for most of its history, the piece has been hidden from public view. Now, for the first time in decades, Artnet reports that the Haring mural has been uncovered.
The late pop artist worked on the piece while he was visiting the city for an exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum. Painted in white, it depicts one of his iconic figures riding a creature with the head of a dog and the tail of a fish. It's the largest Haring work in Europe, even surpassing his famous 1989 mural in Pisa, Italy.
But Haring's Amsterdam mural was hidden away just a few years after its creation. The Stedelijk Museum was concerned about climate control in its storage depot, so it installed weatherboarding over the outside walls to better conserve the art inside. Today, the building is used as a storage center for the Amsterdam food center Markt Kwartier West.
Dutch graffiti artist Aileen Middel (a.k.a. Mick La Rock) has been fighting to uncover the mural for several years. This month, the old weatherboarding was finally peeled away from the wall to reveal the original piece. Art restorers will assess the condition of the painting over the coming weeks.
Haring's Amsterdam mural adds to the long list of public artwork that the artist left behind in cities around the world. Other examples of his street art can be found in Berlin, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, and New York.