BMW Celebrates 40 Years Since Its First Art Car [29 Photos]

The first BMW Art Car was born exactly 40 years ago and was the work of Alexander Calder. The BMW 3.0 CSL painted by Calder took part in the 1975 Le Mans 24-hour race and became the first exhibit of what is now called the BMW Art Car Collection.

The man who had the idea of the first BMW Art Car was French racing driver and art enthusiast Hervé Poulain. 40 years ago, he asked artist friend Alexander Calder to apply his creative talents to his race car. With the help of Jochen Neerpasch, then BMW Motorsport Director, the first BMW Art Car was born.

Since then, new additions to the BMW Art Car Collection have been made over the years at irregular intervals, with unique works of art from famous names such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney and Jeff Koons.

“The 40-year history of our ‘rolling sculptures’ is as unique as the artists who created them. The BMW Art Cars are an essential element and core characteristic of our global cultural engagement,” says Maximilian Schöberl, Senior Vice President, Corporate and Governmental Affairs, BMW Group.

BMW has started anniversary celebrations with exhibitions in Hong Kong, at the Centre Pompidou, the BMW Museum and the Concorso d’Eleganza at Lake Como, where the first four BMW Art Cars by Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, plus the M3 GT2 created by Jeff Koons, were all on display.

The BMW Art Cars will also travel to New York, Miami and Shanghai later this year. The collection includes seventeen cars, several of which are usually on display at the BMW Museum in Munich, as part of its permanent collection.

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