BMW Celebrates 40 Years of Art Cars at Villa d’Este

The renowned BMW Art Car Collection celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The celebrations got under way with exhibitions in Hong Kong, the Centre Pompidou, the BMW Museum and the Concorso d’Eleganza on Lake Como, where the first four BMW Art Cars by Alexander Calder (1975 3.0 CSL), Frank Stella (1976 3.0 CSL), Roy Lichtenstein (1977 320i) and Andy Warhol (1979 M1), plus the M3 GT2 created by Jeff Koons in 2010 were on display last weekend.

It all started back in 1975, when French racing driver and art enthusiast Hervé Poulain asked artist and friend Alexander Calder to paint his race car. It was one of his final works of art before his death. With Jochen Neerpasch, then BMW Motorsport Director, involved in the project, the first BMW Art Car was born. Using a 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL as a canvas, Calder used intensive colors, which he distributed generously over the fenders, hood and roof. It became an instant crowd’s favorite.

Since then a total of 17 artists have created BMW Art Cars, including Frank Stella (1976), Roy Lichtenstein (1977), Andy Warhol (1979), Ernst Fuchs (1982), Robert Rauschenberg (1986), Michael Jagamara Nelson (1989), Ken Done (1989), Matazo Kayama (1990), César Manrique (1990), A. R. Penck (1991), Esther Mahlangu (1991), Sandro Chia (1992), David Hockney (1995), Jenny Holzer (1999), Ólafur Elíasson (2007) and Jeff Koons (2010).

We had the good fortune of seeing all of the cars at an exhibition in London a few years ago and it was amazing. But don’t take my word for it, have a read of the article and check out the extensive photo gallery yourself.

Further presentations of the BMW Art Car Collection are set to follow later in 2015 in New York, Miami and Shanghai to celebrate the anniversary. I strongly recommend you see these works of art for yourself, but in the meantime, here’s a photo gallery from the show.


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