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BMW Art Cars

The BMW Art Car was conceived in 1975.
Filed under:  Brand Related | Design-Art-Photo
Comment(s): 20

A showcase of some of the decorated creations from the various artists who have produced art cars for BMW.

1975 bmw 3.0 csl art car by alexander calder

1975 BMW 3.0 CSL Art Car by Alexander Calder.

The BMW Art Car was conceived in 1975, the year that French auctioneer and racecar driver Herve Poulain first entered 24 Hours of Le Mans. Searching for a link between art and motorsport, Poulain asked his friend, noted artist Alexander Calder, to commission a rolling canvas on the BMW 3.0 CSL that he would race. In the years that followed, this unique combination of motorsport and BMW design fascinated the famous artists of our time. Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol have all turned BMW racing cars into Art Cars.

The Rauschenberg BMW 635 CSi Art Car - the sixth addition to BMW's collection of 15 Art Cars - is the first in which the artist used photographic methods to transfer images (including images of famous, classical paintings) to the car. Rauschenberg extended his use of Art Car motifs in his six-part, 1988 "Beamer" series - presented as transparent films on enameled aluminum and using his trademark collage techniques. The paintings will be offered for sale from the artist's private collection.

The Rauschenberg car made its first appearance in 1986 at the BMW Gallery on Park Avenue in New York City, and in 1988 made its European debut in West Berlin. Since then it has been exhibited across Europe and was a centerpiece of the acclaimed 1997 Rauschenberg retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

Born in Port Arthur, Texas in 1925, Rauschenberg is recognized as one of the 20th century's most influential and prolific artists. He is credited with bridging the gap between the movements of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. A pioneer of the "Transfer Drawing" process, he experimented in technologically sophisticated combinations of photographs and drawings. As such, his trademark BMW Art Car design includes trompe l'oeil images of Bronzino's 16th century painting "Portrait of Young Man" and Ingres's "Odalisque."

Since 1975, outstanding artists from all over the world have been designing the BMW automobiles of their era. The BMW Art Car Collection include works by well-known artists such as Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, A.R. Penck, David Hockney and Jenny Holzer. The Art Cars reflect the developments in art history with regard to fine art, design and technology and are displayed worldwide in major museums such as the Paris Louvre, the Royal Academy in London, the New York Whitney Museum of Modern Art, Venice's Palazzo Grassi, Sydney's Powerhouse Museum and the Guggenheim Museums of New York and Bilbao. In the future, too, Art Cars will document the fascinating link between art and technology in international exhibitions.

Chronological list of all BMW Art Cars.
Alexander Calder (USA) 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL
Frank Stella (USA) 1976 BMW 3.0 CSL
Roy Lichtenstein (USA) 1977 BMW 320i Group 5 Race Version
Andy Warhol (USA) 1979 BMW M1 Group 4 Race Version
Ernst Fuchs (Austria) 1982 BMW 635 CSi
Robert Rauschenberg (USA) 1986 BMW 635 CSi
Michael Jagamara Nelson (Australia) 1989 BMW 635 CSi
Ken Done (Australia) 1989 BMW M3 Group A Race Version
Matazo Kayama (Japan) 1990 BMW 535i
César Manrique (Spain) 1990 BMW 730i
A.R. Penck (Germany) 1991 BMW Z1
Esther Mahlangu (South Africa) 1991 BMW 525i
Sandro Chia (Italy) 1992 BMW 3 Series Racing Prototype
David Hockney (Great Britain) 1995 BMW 850CSi
Jenny Holzer (USA) 1999 BMW V12 LMR
Jeff Koons 2010 BMW M3 GT2

(BMW press release, image credits: BMW Group).

koons art car 01

2010 BMW M3 GT2 Art Car Jeff Koons, makes the 17th vehicle in the series.

1999 bmw v12 lmr by jenny holzer

1999 BMW V12 LMR Art Car by Jenny Holzer.

1995 bmw 850 csi art car by david hockney

1995 BMW 850 CSi Art Car by David Hockney.

1992 bmw 3 series art car by sandro chia

1992 BMW 3-Series Art Car by Sandro Chia.

1991 bmw 525i art car by esther mahlangu

1991 BMW 525i Art Car by Esther Mahlangu.

bmw z1 ar penck art car 3 91

1991 BMW Z1 Art Car by A. R. Penck. (source: BMW)

bmw z1 ar penck art car 2 91

1991 BMW Z1 Art Car by A. R. Penck. (source: BMW)

1991 bmw z1 art car by a. r. penck

1991 BMW Z1 Art Car by A. R. Penck.

1991 bmw z1 art car by a. r. penck 2

1991 BMW Z1 Art Car by A. R. Penck. (source: BMW)

bmw z1 ar penck art car 1 91

1991 BMW Z1 Art Car by A. R. Penck. (source: BMW)

1990 bmw 730i art car by cesar manrique

1990 BMW 730i Art Car by Cesar Manrique.

1990 bmw 535i by matazao kayama

1990 BMW 535i Art Car by Matazao Kayama.

1989 bmw m3 art car by michael jagamara nelson 1

1989 BMW M3 Art Car by Michael Jagamara Nelson.

1989 bmw m3 raceversion art car by ken done 1

1989 BMW M3 Raceversion Art Car by Ken Done.

robert rauschenberg bmw 635 csi 86

1986 BMW 635 CSi Art Car by Robert Rauschenberg.

1982 bmw 632 csi art car by ernest fuchs

1982 BMW 632 CSi Art Car by Ernest Fuchs.

roy lichtenstein bmw 320i group 5 racing version 77

1977 BMW 320i Group 5 by Roy Lichtenstein.

1977 bmw 320i group 5 by roy lichtenstein 1

1977 BMW 320i Group 5 by Roy Lichtenstein.

1976 bmw 3.0 csl art car by frank stella 1

1976 BMW 3.0 CSL Art Car by Frank Stella.

1976 bmw 3.0 csl art car by frank stella 2

1976 BMW 3.0 CSL Art Car by Frank Stella front hood detail.

1979 bmw m1 art car by andy warhol 1

1979 BMW M1 Art Car by Andy Warhol.

bmw logo 1

BMW logo with "The Ultimate Driving Machine" tagline.


BMW Art Cars Overview.

BMW Art Car by Frank Stella “The Hard Edge”.

The BMW Art Car Collection.

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BMW art car by Jeff Koons   World Premiere at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
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BMW Art Car by Esther Mahlangu   BMW’s South African Art Car Exhibited in The Global Africa Project.
BMW Art Car Collection   A richly illustrated overview of the history of the legendary BMW Art Cars.
BMW   Official site.
JT3538 days ago

Stella is one of my favorites. I've never seen that car before, but damn is it beautiful.

michael3537 days ago

BMW.Great car,interesting article to read.

Catherine3487 days ago

Coloring of the car is fabulous......

michael3466 days ago

It's very informative,very knowledgeable article.

Aarti G3309 days ago

There are a bunch of concept cars that are showcased in various trade shows and car expo round the world. Concept cars are the fruits of innovative imaginations. When you let your imaginations run wild, you can come up with outlandish results.

Man3161 days ago

Good facts. I'm gonna wait for the next update on this.

drew3099 days ago

Good facts. I'm gonna wait for the next update.

auto parts3095 days ago

Man, those cars are off the hook. If i had the money, i would collect all of those cars. Just the sad thing about concept cars is that most of them does not really go to production.

Drew3069 days ago

Good facts. I'm gonna wait for the next update on this.

drewt3036 days ago

Good facts. I'm gonna wait for the next update on this.

Drewt3008 days ago

Good facts. I'm gonna wait for the next update on this.

Huidg2945 days ago

Good facts. I'm gonna wait for the next update on this.

Used ATVs2823 days ago

Great car pics, but my all time favorite car is BMW 320i, i don't know why but there is some thing in every car that makes it special :)

cf2685 days ago

Nice picture, I know BMW is largest automaker company in the world. All BMW cars is special, because they made a such way, Which can attracted anyone of BMW cars.

massey2588 days ago

BMW is regarded as one of the luxury cars in united states. With its awesome design and features, many folks were amazed with it. Now that the manufacturer launched the coolest tribal designs, the sales is expected to increase as well. Great job BMW! Keep it up...

Laurence Gartel2539 days ago

Truly BMW has created a great collection of vehicles. A true testament to contemporary art starting with a Master.

brian2131 days ago

I could see the looks people would give you driving down the street in one of those cars.

confucious1936 days ago


Car Pictures1871 days ago

Very nice BMWs

kevin1478 days ago

Simply marvelous!!! Splendid work.

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