BMW Art Cars
Alexander Calder x BMW 3.0 CSL

The very first BMW Art Car: Alexander Calder x BMW 3.0 CSL

Alexander Calder is the first BMW Art Car artist ever. He was chosen by Hervé Poulain, then 35 years old, a professional racing driver and art lover.

Poulain had successfully persuaded the then BMW racing director Jochen Neerpasch to enter a painted BMW in the 24-hour race at Le Mans in 1975 and thus became the initiator of the BMW Art Car tradition.

When asked why he chose Alexander Calder, of all people, as the first BMW Art Car artist, he replied: “Because Calder invented the moving sculpture. Also, this was to be a gift to the visitors of the 24-hour race at Le Mans, most of whom are not necessarily familiar with contemporary art.”

Alexander Calder, Hervé Poulain, Jean-Marie Curie, Jean-Louis Maesen and Jochen Neerpasch in Saché in 1975
@Enes Kucevic for BMW Art Cars
@Enes Kucevic for BMW Art Cars
@Enes Kucevic for BMW Art Cars
@Enes Kucevic for BMW Art Cars

The BMW 3.0 CSL was also one of the final works of Alexander Calder before his death. As a sculptor who normally devised his own shapes, Calder managed to free himself from the formal structure of racing cars and, by painting them, aspired to give them his own distinctive mark.

As in the case of his sculptures and mobiles, he used intensive colours and gracefully sweeping surfaces which he distributed generously over the wings, bonnet and roof.

Born in Philadelphia in 1898, Alexander Calder started his career as an engineer, only then to follow in his father‟s and grandfather’s footsteps as a sculptor.

Feeling drawn equally towards art and technology, he developed his own completely unique form of sculpture, his constructions being enormous but nonetheless light and floating in appearance. He became famous for his abstract mobiles which were hailed by critics as the most innovative American sculptures of the 20th century.

The BMW 3.0 CSL

Six-cylinder inline engine

Displacement: 3210 cm³

Power output: 480 bhp

Top speed: 291 km/h

Alexander Calder and Hervé Poulain in Calders kitchen in Saché

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