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Alice Cooper selling Andy Warhol painting through Scottsdale gallery

Alice Cooper and Andy Warhol's "Little Electric Chair." (Larsen Gallery Photo)

PHOENIX – Rock legend and notorious nice guy Alice Cooper is auctioning off an Andy Warhol painting he forgot about for decades before rediscovering in his Scottsdale garage, a valuable work expected to fetch millions of dollars.

“This silkscreen was given to me during some crazy years and I had completely forgotten I even owned it,” Cooper said Thursday during a press conference.

Scottsdale’s Larsen Gallery will conduct the auction Oct. 23, with some of the proceeds going to Cooper’s Solid Rock foundation, which supports Valley teens interested in music, art, dance, sound and video.

The piece has an estimated value of $2.5 million to $4.5 million and could become the most expensive painting ever sold in Arizona, according to the gallery.

With Cooper’s shock rock persona, it’s no surprise that the Warhol work has a macabre side to it.

The acrylic and silkscreen on 22.5-inch-by-28-inch canvas piece, titled “Little Electric Chair,” is from the iconic pop artist’s 1964-65 “Death and Disaster” series.

The red and black image is based on a photo from the chamber where convicted spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed in in 1953.

Cooper used to incorporate an electric chair into his extravagant stage shows. A friend of his saw the painting at Warhol’s famous studio, The Factory, and bought it as a birthday present for $2,500, the rocker said.

“I had it hanging in our apartment in New York City for a while,” said Cooper, who attended Cortez High School in Phoenix before cranking out hit songs like “School’s Out” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy.”

“Then we moved to Los Angeles, to Beverly Hills, and it was in a tube. I put it in a tube, with other art pieces and forgot about it for about 30 years.”

A conversation with actor Dennis Hopper, who died in 2010, reminded Cooper that he owned the Warhol.

“I went through the garage and went through all these tubes and pulled it out, and it was in perfect condition,” Cooper said.

Cooper said he’s selling it because although he collects art, mainly from local artists, he doesn’t collect Warhol.

“Little Electric Chair” is part of the Fall Larsen Art Auction. Potential buyers can register online to make in-person, telephone or absentee bids.

The Larsen Gallery is located at 3705 N. Bishop Lane in the Scottsdale Arts District.

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