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In 1975, in the depths of the oil crisis, when being a car lover was frowned upon, the French racing driver Hervé Poulain had an idea for giving cars back some of their lustre – turn them into art. He persuaded his friend, American artist Alexander Calder, to paint the BMW in which he would compete in the Le Mans race that year. Calder’s design (in vibrant yellow, red and blue) was the start of the BMW Art Cars series.

People were so impressed that there were high expectations for the next Le Mans, in 1976. This time the artist Frank Stella was commissioned. He produced an unusual ‘graph paper’ design in black and white that looked like the outline of a car (it even had trim lines around the bodywork). The payment for his work – a BMW.

One of the most popular pieces in the series was that of Roy Lichtenstein, in 1977, who dressed the car in his trademark comic book style. Andy Warhol, meanwhile, refused to work on scale models and painted the car himself in brilliant swathes of red, yellow, green and sky blue. He said his intent was to portray speed because when "a car is moving really quickly, all the lines and colours are blurred."

In 2010, the commission for No. 17 in the series went to American Jeff Koons, whose design featured lines of colours appearing to explode from the front – imparting a sense of motion even when the car is standing still. Fans eagerly await the next edition, due to appear in 2017, which is being designed by artists Cao Fei and John Baldessari.

BMW: Founded in 1916 in Munich. Manufactures more than 2 million cars and 120,000 motorcycles a year. Employs more than 116,000 people. Manufactures cars in 14 countries and is present in 140.

 

 

People were so impressed that there were high expectations for the next Le Mans, in 1976. This time the artist Frank Stella was commissioned. He produced an unusual ‘graph paper’ design in black and white that looked like the outline of a car (it even had trim lines around the bodywork). The payment for his work – a BMW.

One of the most popular pieces in the series was that of Roy Lichtenstein, in 1977, who dressed the car in his trademark comic book style. Andy Warhol, meanwhile, refused to work on scale models and painted the car himself in brilliant swathes of red, yellow, green and sky blue. He said his intent was to portray speed because when "a car is moving really quickly, all the lines and colours are blurred."

In 2010, the commission for No. 17 in the series went to American Jeff Koons, whose design featured lines of colours appearing to explode from the front – imparting a sense of motion even when the car is standing still. Fans eagerly await the next edition, due to appear in 2017, which is being designed by artists Cao Fei and John Baldessari.

 

 

BMW: Founded in 1916 in Munich. Manufactures more than 2 million cars and 120,000 motorcycles a year. Employs more than 116,000 people. Manufactures cars in 14 countries and is present in 140.

BMW was founded in 1916.

Their headquarters are based in Germany.

They have over 116,000 employees.

Customers can find them online at bmw.com au.

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