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BMW Art Cars: 40 years of special paint jobs

2015-05-29 07:27

ONE IN 17: Seventeen artists, including South Africa's Esther Mahlangu with her 1991 Ndebele art car pictured here, have contributed to BWM's Art Car collection. Image: BMW

MUNICH, Germany - Andy Warhol, South Africa's Esther Mahlangu, Olafur Eliasson… BMW’s Art Car Collection has attracted drawn famous artists and enthusiasts for decades since a BMW 3.0 CSL painted by Alexander Calder lined-up for the 1975 Le Mans 24-hour.

In May 2015, BMW is celebrating 40 years of its art cars with celebrations and exhibitions in Hong Kong at the Centre Pompidou, the BMW Museum in Germany and the Concorso d’Eleganza at Lake Como, Italy.

The first four BMW Art Cars by Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, plus the M3 GT2 created by Jeff Koons, are on display. Further presentations are set to follow later in 2015 in New York, Miami and Shanghai.  


BMW’s Art Cars was the brainchild of French racing driver and art enthusiast Herve Poulain. He asked his artist friend Alexander Calder to apply his creative talents to his race car.

Together with Jochen Neerpasch, then BMW Motorsport Director, the first BMW Art Car was born – and it became an instant crowd’s favourite on the race track.

IMAGE GALLERY: 40 of years of BMW Art Cars

Since then, additions to BMW’s collection have been made by artists such as Warhol, Lichtenstein, David Hockney and Koons.  


BMW’s senior vice president of corporate and government affairs, Maximilian Schoberl, said: “The BMW Art Cars provide an exciting landmark at the interface where cars, technology, design, art and motor sport meet.

“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.”  

Below are seventeen artists who have designed BMW models since 1975:
 • 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 Elíasson (BMW H2R, 2007)
 • Jeff Koons (BMW M3 GT2, 2010)

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