Have you ever opened up your storage locker to find a multi-million dollar piece of artwork that you’d forgotten about? Nope, us neither, but then we’re not Alice Cooper. According to the rock and roller, there’s a pretty wild story concerning the silkscreen painting by Andy Warhol – and we’re not surprised.
In an article on The Guardian, Alice Cooper found the artwork “rolled up in a tube” in his storage locker, along with plenty of other (probably seriously expensive) artefacts. The silkscreen painting had been sitting in that storage locker for four decades, just gathering dust. You know, like we all do with our priceless possessions. The Andy Warhol piece, named Little Electric Chair, came from the artist’s Death and Disaster Series, and was found alongside an actual electric chair that Cooper had used as part of his stage show in the early ’70s.
Alice Cooper and Andy Warhol met in 1972, striking up a friendship because (according to Cooper’s manager, Shep Gordon) they both “loved famous people.” Warhol went to see his friend in concert, during which Cooper pretended to be electrocuted by the electric chair that was practically identical to the one in Warhol’s print. It was Cindy Lang, Cooper’s girlfriend at the time, who purchased the painting for the rocker after asking for money from Gordon. The painting was bought for $2500 just before Cooper ended up in “an insane asylum for drinking and then [left] New York for LA,” his manager explains. The artwork then ended up in storage alongside all of Cooper’s other touring equipment and was forgotten about.
A green version of the silkscreen sold for $11.6 million back in 2015, but Cooper refused to have anything so expensive in his house; after his manager suggested he hang it in his home. It’s stayed in storage ever since! However, Alice Cooper’s version of the artwork is unsigned and so there’s doubt about how much it could actually be worth. It’s unlikely Warhol himself gave Cooper a fake so there is a good chance it could go for millions if sold at auction. Richard Polsky, a Warhol expert has also checked and dated the piece, saying he was 100% sure it was authentic. He also gave Gordon an estimate of what it could be worth (which some reports are saying is around $16 million).
According to Shep Gordon,
Truthfully, at the time no one thought it had any real value. Andy Warhol was not ‘Andy Warhol’ back then. And it was all a swirl of drugs and drinking. But 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!”
Might be time to get it out of storage then, right?