The 4 BMW Art Car Andy Warhol is one of the iconic pieces of art in the motoring world. The M1 was painted by the Pop Art legend in 1979 as part of the BMW Art Cars series. Also known as ‘Rolling Sculptures’, these painted cars were conceived by the German carmaker to ‘demonstrate an individual synthesis of artistic expression and automobile design’. Three equally famous artistes Alexander Calder, Frank Stella and Roy Lichtenstein had created similar BMW art in the preceding years as part of the series (and 15 artistes later) but it is the Warhol car that became the most famous. It is now part of the company’s coveted BMW Art Car Collection at the BMW Museum in Munich, Germany.
Visitors to the Delhi Art Fair can see this can see this piece of pop culture history at the Delhi Art Fair till 2nd of February. Says Rudratej Singh, President and Chief Executive Officer, BMW Group India, “At BMW, we just don’t build the best performing cars, but deeply believe in the intangibles. We hold our design aesthetics very dear, this inspires us as well as our users to stretch their creative boundaries. People love BMW for its superior performance, safety, luxurious experiences, and an underpinning is the design and aesthetic creative sensibility. To help build and strengthen intercultural platforms of creativity in the field of art, music, design and architecture is therefore very core to us. India Art Fair is a perfect platform for us to reach out to our discerning customers and showcase the brands aesthetics and design philosophy. My personal favourite is the exclusive showcase of the most photographed BMW Art Car in the world – by Andy Warhol. It is at India Art Fair and I would urge our fans and patrons not to miss seeing it in person! We bring to India yet another timeless interaction between art, artist and the automobile closer to our customers and connoisseurs of art.”
The car was originally built by the BMW M1 Group 4 to compete at the 24 hour race of Le Mans in France. It took Warhol less than half an hour to complete the masterpiece. And unlike other artistes he did not start with a scale model, or use any assistants. Using broad brush strokes, he painted the car all by himself. “I love this car. It’s more successful than the artwork,” he said later, adding, “I have tried to give a vivid depiction of speed. If a car is really fast, all contours and colours will become blurred.”
The BMW Art Car collection was born when French race car driver and art aficionado Hervé Poulain, asked his artist friend Alexander Calder to design an automobile. His painted BMW 3.0 CSL competed in 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1975, where it quickly became the crowd’s favourite. Since then, 19 international artists have designed BMW models, among them some of the most renowned artists of our time: Alexander Calder (BMW 3.0 CSL, 1975), Frank Stella (BMW 3.0 CSL, 1976), Roy Lichtenstein (BMW 320 Group 5, 1977), Andy Warhol (BMW M1 Group 4, 1979), Ernst Fuchs (BMW 635CSi, 1982), Robert Rauschenberg (BMW 635CSi, 1986), Michael Jagamara Nelson (BMW M3 Group A, 1989), Ken Done (BMW M3 Group A, 1989), Matazo Kayama (BMW 535i, 1990), César Manrique (BMW 730i, 1990), A. R. Penck (BMW Z1, 1991), Esther Mahlangu (BMW 525i, 1991), Sandro Chia (BMW M3 GTR, 1992), David Hockney (BMW 850CSi, 1995), Jenny Holzer (BMW V12 LMR, 1999), Ólafur Eliasson (BMW H2R, 2007), Jeff Koons (BMW M3 GT2, 2010), John Baldessari (BMW M6 GT3) and Cai Fei (BMW M6 GT3).