Warhol began making images of the electric chair in 1963 to illustrate the object as an icon of death in America. Mimicking the media's overwhelming coverage of the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg execution, Warhol would return to the subject repeatedly throughout the next decade, presenting the brutal image in the same saturated compositions as his other subjects.
In 1971 Warhol received his first major print portfolio commission from a European publisher for Electric Chairs. The complete set is comprised of a series of ten screenprints based on a January 13, 1953 photograph of the death chamber of New York's Sing Sing prison, where Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed. During the creation of this portfolio Warhol also introduced backgrounds that were fluid and hazy, a technique that would increase in significance in his later prints. The following two proofs are presumably unique trial proofs in their design and color scheme from this seminal portfolio.