Andy Warhol, ‘Electric Chairs’, 1971, Christie's
Andy Warhol, ‘Electric Chairs’, 1971, Christie's
Andy Warhol, ‘Electric Chairs’, 1971, Christie's
Andy Warhol, ‘Electric Chairs’, 1971, Christie's
Andy Warhol, ‘Electric Chairs’, 1971, Christie's
Andy Warhol, ‘Electric Chairs’, 1971, Christie's
Andy Warhol, ‘Electric Chairs’, 1971, Christie's
Andy Warhol, ‘Electric Chairs’, 1971, Christie's
Andy Warhol, ‘Electric Chairs’, 1971, Christie's
Andy Warhol, ‘Electric Chairs’, 1971, Christie's

Each signed and dated in ball-point pen on the reverse, each stamp-numbered 'A.p. XVII/L' and artist's proof set, (the edition was 250), co-published by Factory Additions, New York, and Bruno Bischofberger, Zürich, with their inkstamp on the reverse, each with the 'Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board, Inc.' inkstamp on the reverse and annotated 'A302.076-A311.076' in pencil respectively, the full sheets, in generally very good condition
Each Sheet: 35 ½ x 48 in. (892 x 1219 mm.)

From the Catalogue:
When you see a gruesome picture over and over again, it really doesn't have any effect. (A. Warhol, quoted in Gene Swenson, "Interview," Artnews, November 1963).

In 1963, Sing Sing State Penitentiary performed the last two executions in the state of New York – Frederick Charles Wood on March 21st and Eddie Lee Mays on August 15th. Warhol’s predilection for death, as well as the media’s increased focus on the death penalty following these executions, led the artist to create his first Electric Chair paintings in 1963. Warhol later returned to the subject several times throughout his career and ultimately made a series of ten screen-prints titled Electric Chairs in 1971.

Warhol created ten color variations of the Electric Chair, each executed over a differently colored ground. It has been noted that Warhol used bright Day-Glo colors in the Electric Chair series, from green to blue and even pink. In discussing the early exhibitions of the subject, Gerard Malanga, who worked closely with Warhol during this era, recalls: "Imagine, the premiere of Andy's Electric Chair paintings in Toronto! Each painting seemed identical yet no two were really alike. Every color imaginable....Andy remarked how adding pretty colors to a picture as gruesome as this would change people's perceptions of acceptance," (G. Malanga, 'Electric Chairs on Display in Toronto for First Time!', Andy Warhol: Little Electric Chair Paintings, New York, 2001, p. 8).

The Electric Chair is the only work in the Death and Disaster series that shows no scene of violence. Since Warhol presents a single, isolated electric chair in an empty execution chamber, the viewer is instead left to extrapolate the action of the scene. In essence, Warhol creates a kind of mise-en-scéne that recalls the work of Alfred Hitchcock or film noir, in which the real terror of the scene is left un-filmed. The mind of the viewer instead re-enacts the gruesome electrocution of the victim, which is undoubtedly more terrifying a spectacle because it is created in the mind's eye. As Heiner Bastian explains, “In the pictures showing the electric chair in the execution room, Warhol again operates solely with the tension of allusion, with those connotations that refer to something unspoken, and which, like a magnetic pull, point to the event that is hidden from sight and only ever implied” (Heiner Bastian, "Rituals of Unfulfillable Individuality-The Whereabouts of Emotions," Andy Warhol Retrospective, exh. cat., Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin and Tate Modern, London, 2002, p. 30).
—Courtesy of Christie's

Feldman & Schellmann II.74-83

About Andy Warhol

Obsessed with celebrity, consumer culture, and mechanical (re)production, Pop artist Andy Warhol created some of the most iconic images of the 20th century. As famous for his quips as for his art—he variously mused that “art is what you can get away with” and “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”—Warhol drew widely from popular culture and everyday subject matter, creating works like his 32 Campbell's Soup Cans (1962), Brillo pad box sculptures, and portraits of Marilyn Monroe, using the medium of silk-screen printmaking to achieve his characteristic hard edges and flat areas of color. Known for his cultivation of celebrity, Factory studio (a radical social and creative melting pot), and avant-garde films like Chelsea Girls (1966), Warhol was also a mentor to artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. His Pop sensibility is now standard practice, taken up by major contemporary artists Richard Prince, Takashi Murakami, and Jeff Koons, among countless others.

American, 1928-1987, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, based in New York, New York