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Alice Cooper finds Andy Warhol silkscreen potentially ‘worth millions’ in storage

Alice Cooper © Rob Fenn

Planet Rock’s very own Alice Cooper rediscovered an Andy Warhol silkscreen potentially worth millions “rolled up in a tube” in a storage locker.

The Little Red Chair silkscreen from Warhol’s Death and Disaster series had been in storage for more than 40 years alongside other artefacts from Alice’s devilishly macabre stage show. 

Alice first met Andy Warhol in the late sixties and the pair would regularly hang out at the notorious Max’s Kansas City nightclub.

According to Alice’s long-standing manager Shep Gordon, Alice’s then girlfriend - model Cindy Lang - was the fixer for the purchase offering Warhol $2500 for the 1964 canvas.

“It was back in 72 and Alice had moved to New York with his girlfriend Cindy Lang,” Shep exclusively told The Guardian. “Andy was kind of a groupie, and so was Alice. They loved famous people. So they started a relationship, and they loved to hang out.”

He added: “As I recall, Cindy came to me for $2,500 for the painting. At the time Alice is making two albums a year and touring the rest of the time.

“It was a rock’n’roll time, none of us thought about anything. He ends up going into an insane asylum for his drinking and then leaves New York for LA.”

“Alice says he remembers having a conversation with Warhol about the picture. He thinks the conversation was real, but he couldn’t put his hand on a Bible and say that it was.”

Our Alice in 1972 © PA Images

Buried alongside Alice’s stage props in storage, the canvas was forgotten about until four years ago Shep had a conversation with Los Angeles art dealer, Ruth Bloom, who mentioned how much Warhol silkscreens go under the hammer for. She urged him to find the artwork.

Shep added: “Alice’s mother remembered it going into storage. So we went and found it rolled up in a tube.”

Measuring just 22 x 28in, after discovering the silkscreen, Alice put the artwork back in storage as, according to Shep, he doesn’t want something of such high value hanging in his home.

The top amount paid for a Little Electric Chair is $11.6million, at Christie’s in New York November 2015, however, as Alice’s silkscreen is unsigned it’s unlikely to reach such a figure.

Additionally, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has not authenticated work since 2011 due to a long-running legal feud with a collector.

Andy Warhol expert Richard Polsky is convinced of its legitimacy, however, telling The Guardian: “I’m 100% (sure it’s real).”

“It looks right, and the story just makes too much sense. It’s hard to appreciate how little Warhol’s art was worth at the time. Twenty-five hundred was the going rate at the time. Why would Andy give him a fake?

“He had plenty of electric chairs. They were not an easy sell. They weren’t decorative in the conventional sense. It’s a brutal image.”

Adds Shep, "You should have seen Alice’s face when Richard Polsky’s estimate came in. His jaw dropped and he looked at me."
“‘Are you serious? I own that!’”

Boasting the songs ‘Paranoiac Personality’ and the album title track, Alice’s new album ‘Paranormal’ is released this Friday (28th July) via earMUSIC worldwide. You can listen to a preview of the album below:

You can also read our full review of ‘Paranormal’ in Issue Two of Planet Rock Magazine, which is out right now! Find full details here.

Don’t forget, Nights With Alice Cooper airs on Planet Rock at 7pm on Mondays, and Tuesdays to Fridays at 10pm.

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