In 1962, Andy Warhol started a series of silkscreened paintings of death and disasters that included photographs of suicides, plane and car crashes, and tragedy-stricken celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Jacqueline Kennedy. All the images were taken from the print media. He depicted an electric chair in several groups of silk-screens throughout the 1960s, the first in 1963--the same year that New York's Sing Sing State Penetentiary performed its last two executions by electric chair (capital punishment was banned in the United States from 1963-1997).
In 1971 Warhol published a suite of 10 silkscreen prints of the subject and in 1978, as part of his "Retrospective Series" the artist revisited many of his most iconic images; Mao, Marilyn, the Cow and Electric Chair, which were included in this series. In this small group of unique trial proof prints, however, he made several variations: he reversed some images, cropped others and combined images of Mao, the Cow and the Electric Chair in others, occasionally printing at raked angles, creating off-register, double, or overlaid images.
In this example we see a clear, solitary impression of the iconic Electric Chair. By the artist's account, the replication of the image was intended to "empty" it of meaning.
Andy Warhol Estate
Paul Kasmin Gallery
Private Collection, Minneapolis