In 1974, French auctioneer and racecar driver Hervé Poulain commissioned American artist Alexander Calder to paint a BMW race car. One year later, the momentous collaboration was realized. Calder devised dynamic forms in bold colors across the car’s wings, bonnet, and roof that recall the artist’s famous mobiles and stabiles, but also his two-dimensional works.
The Calder BMW Art Car debuted at 24 Heures du Mans (24 Hours of Le Mans), a famous sports car race held annually in France, and was later exhibited widely, including at the artist’s major 1976 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Artist’s Proof realizes Calder’s dream of creating his own example of the first BMW Art Car, operating as the kinetic work of art that he intended. Conceived by BMW Group Classic for the Calder Foundation, it was meticulously built from a 1974 BMW 3.0 CSL. The two organizations consulted with key members of the initial project including Poulain and Walter Maurer, who completed the technical painting of the 1975 Calder BMW Art Car as well as of the Artist’s Proof in 2021.
The Norton Museum of Art is the debut institutional venue in the United States to exhibit the Calder BMW Art Car (Artist’s Proof).
This series highlights exceptional works of art from public and private collections placed on view for an extended period of time.
Organized by the Norton Museum of Art.
Special thanks to the Calder Foundation, New York, and Pace Gallery, Palm Beach.
Located in the Maurer Lobby