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Andy Warhol Alice Cooper
Andy Warhol and Alice Cooper by Bob GruenCourtesy of Bob Gruen

Alice Cooper discovers Warhol painting in a storage locker

The piece, ‘Little Electric Chair’, could be worth ‘millions’

Alice Cooper, who became friends with artist Andy Warhol in the 1960s, has found a priceless Warhol piece in storage after 40 years. The silkscreen, “Little Electric Chair”, is from Warhol’s Death and Disaster series, and was lost when it “entered Cooper’s touring equipment collection”. The piece was never stretched on a frame and was found rolled up in a tube. Apparently it “could be worth millions”.

In the 70s, Alice Cooper would use an electric chair as part of his stage show. Warhol attended one of his concerts, and the electric chair in the print is identical to the one Cooper used. Shep Gordon, Cooper’s manager, told The Guardian that Cooper’s girlfriend Cindy Lang, a model who was once a cover star for Andy Warhol's Interview magazine, “had the idea to purchase one of the canvases” and that she came to him with “$2500 for the painting”. She gave it to Cooper for his birthday in 1974. It was Cooper’s mother that “remembered it going into storage” four years ago, and they recently dug it out.

Warhol’s work wasn’t worth very much back then, and while it technically could be worth a lot more than $2500 now, without authentication or a signature it’s likely to fetch less than the expected “millions”. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts stopped authenticating paintings in 2011, which means Cooper could have trouble selling the piece for a substantial amount. For now, after seeking the advice of a Los Angeles collector and a San Francisco private art dealer, Cooper has decided to display the piece in his home. Despite the lack of a signature, private dealer Richard Polsky believes that the silkscreen ia legit. He told Artnet News “everything checked out. Alice and Andy were good friends in the early ’70s when Alice was in his prime.” He dated the work to 1964-65 and “plans to include it in his unauthorised addendum to the Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, which launched on July 20.