• Andy Warhol at Christie's Sold auction at Christies

    Sale 2766

    Andy Warhol at Christie's Sold to Benefit the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

    12 November 2012, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 473


    Electric Chair

    Price Realised  


    Electric Chair
    screenprint in black, circa 1978, on Strathmore Drawing paper, one of a small number of impressions, with the 'The Estate of Andy Warhol' and 'Authorized by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts' inkstamps on the reverse, with full margins, generally in very good condition, framed
    Image: 11 7/8 x 16 1/8 in. (302 x 410 mm.)
    Sheet: 17 7/8 x 23 7/8 in. (454 x 606 mm.)

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    Much of Warhol's printmaking in the 1970s and 1980s was focused on exuberant portraits of stars or appropriations of consumer goods and advertisements in saturated color. In Electric Chair however, we are confronted with a dark side rooted in his early work from the 1960s. As seen in Flash or his portraits of Jackie, Warhol seized upon source material that addressed death and violence, and the way these themes were represented and exploited by the mass media. In these prints Warhol used found images of race riots, car crashes, and the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison to reveal our collective obsessions and fears.

    What is even more sinister in these images, is Warhol's focus on the voyeurism and guilty pleasures to be found in horror. The perspective in the Electric Chairs is that of the viewer to the event, and in Warhol's rubric we are witnesses to the spectacle, complicit by our action of looking. The Electric Chairs are even more terrifying to our psyche because the horror is implied and we are only confronted with the object present. In these presumably unique black screenprints, this absence is further magnified by the lack of color. Closer to the atmosphere of a horror film still, Warhol's Electric Chair composition is particularly fitting for this haunting subject.


    (see F. & S. IIIA.4)