Electric Chair

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28

Electric Chair

signed and dated 'Andy Warhol 71' on the reverse on each print and stamp numbered
each 90.2 x 121.9 cm (35 1/2 x 47 7/8 in.)
screenprint on Velin Arches paper, in 10 parts
Executed in 1971, this work is number 158 from an edition of 250 plus 50 artist's proofs published by Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich.

Estimate
£150,000 - 200,000 †

sold for £143,000

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

Henry Highley
Head of Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

  • Provenance

    The Estate of Gunter Sachs
    Munich, Karl & Faber Kunstauktionen, 5 June 2014, lot 587
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Warhol Unlimited, 2 October 2015 - 7 February 2016, pp. 179-171 (another from the edition exhibited and illustrated)

  • Literature

    F. Feldman, J. Schellmann, Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné of Prints 1962-1987, Milan, 2003, pp. 77-78 (another from the edition illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Repetition is indispensable in Andy Warhol’s series Death and Disaster. From an early stage, Warhol understood that prolonged exposure to violence lead to a desensitisation of it: 'When you see a gruesome picture over and over again, it doesn't really have an effect.' ('What is Pop Art? Interviews with Eight Painters', Art News, November 1963). Reiterating the same image of the lone electric chair suggests that it is an instrument for mass-production of death. The liberal use of the striking colours brought about a stark contrast to the macabre subject matter. Invented to maximise efficiency in executions and make it as impersonal as possible, the electric chair merges Warhol’s obsession with mechanised production and death.

    Beginning in 1964, Warhol produced paintings based on a press photograph of the electric chair used in the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. In the 1960s, parallel to the series Death and Disasters, America was embroiled in fervent debates of the ethics with regards to capital punishment. These morbid images were presented void of any moral consolation or social commentary. Warhol further distanced himself emotionally from the grim subject through the use of vivid colours. The silkscreen process introduced unevenness, irregularities, and glare to the image, retaining the sense of immediacy of press photo he appropriated

    The same industrial means of mass production that produced Coca-Cola, Campbell’s Soup, and other consumer goods so central to Warhol’s practice, this portfolio of electric chairs highlighted America’s death industry and the shadow of the rampant consumerist culture.

  • Artist Bio

    Andy Warhol

    American • 1928 - 1987

    A seminal figure in the Pop Art movement of the early 1960s, Andy Warhol's paintings and screenprints are iconic beyond the scope of Art History, having become universal signifiers of an age. An early career in commercial illustration led to Warhol's appropriation of imagery from American popular culture and insistent concern with the superficial wonder of permanent commodification that yielded a synthesis of word and image, of art and the everyday.

    Warhol's obsession with creating slick, seemingly mass-produced artworks led him towards the commercial technique of screenprinting, which allowed him to produce large editions of his painted subjects. The clean, mechanical surface and perfect registration of the screenprinting process afforded Warhol a revolutionary absence of authorship that was crucial to the Pop Art manifesto.

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28

Electric Chair

signed and dated 'Andy Warhol 71' on the reverse on each print and stamp numbered
each 90.2 x 121.9 cm (35 1/2 x 47 7/8 in.)
screenprint on Velin Arches paper, in 10 parts
Executed in 1971, this work is number 158 from an edition of 250 plus 50 artist's proofs published by Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich.

Estimate
£150,000 - 200,000 †

sold for £143,000

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

Henry Highley
Head of Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 5 October 2016

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