Rock star Alice Cooper has found an Andy Warhol masterpiece that could be worth millions “rolled up in a tube” in a storage locker, where it lay forgotten for more than 40 years.
The work in question is a red Little Electric Chair silkscreen, from Warhol’s Death and Disaster series. Never stretched on a frame, it sat in storage alongside touring artifacts including an electric chair that Cooper used in the early 70’s as part of his ghoulish stage show.
According to Shep Gordon, the singer’s longtime manager, Cooper and Warhol became friends at the famous Max’s Kansas City venue in New York City.
“It was back in 72 and Alice had moved to New York with his girlfriend Cindy Lang,” Gordon stated, “Andy was kind of a groupie, and so was Alice. They loved famous people. So they started a relationship, and they loved to hang out.”
Warhol went to see a concert in which Cooper feigned electrocution in a chair identical to the one in Warhol’s print. The image is based on a press photograph from 13 January 1953 of the death chamber at Sing Sing prison.
Lang, a model and Interview magazine cover star who died in January at the age of 67, had the idea to approach the artist’s studio and purchase one of the 1964 canvases.
“Alice says he remembers having a conversation with Warhol about the picture. He thinks the conversation was real, but he couldn’t put his hand on a Bible and say that it was.”
The artwork entered Cooper’s touring equipment collection, and disappeared. Then, four years ago, Gordon was having dinner with a Los Angeles art dealer. She mentioned how much a Warhol had recently fetched at auction. Gordon mentioned that Cooper had had a Little Electric Chair. Bloom advised him to find it.
“Alice’s mother remembered it going into storage,” he said. “So we went and found it rolled up in a tube.”
the top price paid for a Little Electric Chair is $11.6m, at Christie’s in November 2015 for a green version dated 1964, and he didn’t want anything of such value in the house. So it went back into storage.
Without authentication – it is unsigned – Cooper’s Warhol is unlikely to make quite so much should it ever come to auction. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts stopped authenticating work in 2011, after a protracted legal dispute over a self-portrait owned by a British collector, that the authentication panel refused to endorse, rendering it valueless.
Gordon took Cooper’s small canvas, which measures 22 x 28in, to a Warhol expert. He believes the provenance of the silkscreen checks out and has dated it to 1964 or 1965. “It looks right, and the story just makes too much sense. It’s hard to appreciate how little Warhol’s art was worth at the time. Twenty-five hundred was the going rate at the time. Why would Andy give him a fake?”
Gordon said the singer had changed his mind and was now considering hanging his Little Electric Chair in his home, when he comes off tour at the end of the year.
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Artist: Andy Warhol
Title: Conspiracy Means To Breathe Together
Medium: Offset Lithograph
Size: 34″ x 22″
Description: Warhol created his first screenprint of an electric chair in 1963. Later in the sixties he returned to the imagery for a series of ‘Little Electric Chairs’, to which this image belongs. The source photograph was published in 1953 and shows the chair in New York State’s Sing Sing prison. Used for the final time in 1963, Warhol remarked that it seemed like a typically American way to go. The title of this group exhibition for charity at LoGuidice Gallery works especially well with Warhol’s image. Conspiracy derives from the Latin word ‘conspirare’, which literally means to breathe together. The exhibition organisers refer to the fact that this chair was used to execute American communists Ethel and Julius Rosenberg for conspiracy to commit espionage in 1953. Artwork is in excellent condition. Certificate of Authenticity included.
Article Source: Edward Helmore