Little Electric Chair, (Black Diamond Dust)

by After Andy Warhol

£7,400

Addressing the reiteration of tragedy in the media, the Electric Chair series juxtaposes bright colours with a morbid subject. Warhol began producing these works in 1963, the same year as the State of New York’s last execution by electric chair. The source image was a press photograph published in January 1953 of the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York, a maximum security prison.

DIMENSIONS: (Unframed) 22 x 28 inches / 55.88 x 71.12 cm
SIGNATURE: Stamped ‘undenied’ edition 1/40.
MEDIUM: Acrylic on canvas

Unlike the others pieces from the Electric Chair series, the use of black diamond dust reverses the tonality of the whole image, drawing attention to the space of the room rather than the chair itself. The use of black implies that the room is filled with death, juxtaposing with the glittering effect of the diamond dust. This juxtaposition emphasises Warhol’s lifelong interest in the absurd relationship between mass consumption and disturbing media images.

Initially produced in 1963, Warhol returned to the series in 1971. This work was made by one of Warhol’s master printers, using Warhol’s original acetates and the same pigments used during the artist’s life, this painting is presented as a faithful, but posthumous body of work and accredited ‘After Warhol’.

Private Collection, United Kingdom

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Biography:

Warhol studied pictorial design at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, from 1945 to 1949.
He moved to New York in 1949 and worked as a commercial artist.

Warhol held his first one-man exhibition of drawings at the Hugo Gallery, New York, in 1952, and
published six books of reproductions of his own drawings 1954-9. He was awarded the Art Directors’
Club Medal for his shoe advertisements 1957.

A leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art, his works explore the relationship between
artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. It was during this
time that Warhol began to make paintings based on newspaper title pages, advertisements and other
mass-produced images, and from 1962 to use silkscreen for the largely mechanical production by
himself and assistants of series of easel paintings of ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans’, ‘Coca-Cola Bottles’,
portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley, Jackie Kennedy, and later also car crashes,
the electric chair, flowers and so on, sometimes with rows of repeated images.

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