Title: Electric Chair (FS II.79)
Medium: Screenprint on Paper
Size: 35 ½” x 48”
Edition:Edition of 250 signed and dated ’71 in ball-point pen and numbered with a rubber stamp on verso; some signed in pencil. 50 AP numbered in Roman numerals, signed and dated in ball-point pen on verso and stamped AP and numbered with a rubber stamp on verso. Portfolio of 10.
Electric Chair 79
This print is one of ten from Warhol’s Electric Chairs portfolio. This particular print features an almost all black image, the background is such a dark blue it is hard to tell it a part from the black. The colors in this particular print are probably the most somber in the entire series, because the others feature more bright colors. Warhol took images he found in mass media for many of his works and transformed them into images of pop art. The idea of abstracting and image and repeating it is something that is also very stereotypical Warhol. He said, “When you see a gruesome picture over and over again, it doesn’t really have any effect.” (Swenson,“What is Pop Art? Interviews with Eight Painters, Part I,” Art News 62 (November 1963): 24-27, p. 60-63). That is definitely the case with this portfolio of Electric Chairs.
Electric Chair 79 AS PART OF ANDY WARHOL’S LARGER BODY OF WORK:
This portfolio was part of Warhol’s Death and Disaster series, which he started in the early 1960s. Warhol was obsessed with all of the news reports surrounding violent deaths so he created works using images of car crashes, suicides, plane crashes and even celebrities who had died tragically. The first chairs he produced in 1963 caused a bit of an uproar. They had been created the same year that New York State had their final two executions at Sing Sing Penitentiary, and the death penalty was a very hot button topic at the time. Warhol continues to use images from the media in his later works as well as explore different images of death and disaster.