Andy Warhol artwork owned by Alice Cooper goes unsold at Scottsdale auction

Nov 11, 2021, 12:30 PM | Updated: Nov 12, 2021, 7:11 am
Alice Cooper poses with Andy Warhol's "Little Electric Chair." (Chris Loomis Photo)...
Alice Cooper poses with Andy Warhol's "Little Electric Chair." (Chris Loomis Photo)
(Chris Loomis Photo)

PHOENIX – A recurring Scottsdale art auction had its biggest event ever last month, but Alice Cooper’s showcase offering didn’t find a buyer.

An Andy Warhol painting owned by the Valley resident and rock legend failed to receive a bid meeting the minimum reserve at the 2021 Fall Larsen Art Auction on Oct. 23. The auction’s reserve amounts were not revealed to the public.

The work, titled “Little Electric Chair,” is from the iconic pop artist’s 1964-65 “Death and Disaster” series. With an estimated value of $2.5 million-$4.5 million, it had the potential to be the most expensive painting ever sold at auction in Arizona.

During a May press conference promoting the auction, Cooper said the piece was a birthday gift from a friend who purchased it at Warhol’s famous studio, The Factory, for $2,500.

“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.”

Cooper said he was selling it because although he collects art, mainly from local artists, he doesn’t collect Warhol. A portion of the proceeds, if the painting had been sold, would have gone to Cooper’s Solid Rock foundation, which supports Valley teens interested in music, art, dance, sound and video.

Another Warhol offered at last month’s auction, “Sunset,” fetched $114,000, near the high end of its $80,000-$120,000 estimated value. In addition, an empty Campbell’s tomato soup can signed by Warhol with an estimated value of $1,000-$2,000 sold for $5,400.

While Cooper’s item didn’t change hands, the Fall Larsen Art Auction, which offered 470 works, said it sold 93% of the lots.

Among them, a signed piece by famed Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher called “Day and Night” went for $72,000, well above its estimated value of $20,000-$40,000.

The unsold lots, including “Little Electric Chair,” are available for private sale through the Larsen Gallery.

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Andy Warhol artwork owned by Alice Cooper goes unsold at Scottsdale auction