14 May Ferrari exhibited as an artwork at Paris Museum
Visitors look at vintage sports cars during the press day of the exhibition ‘The Art of the Automobile, Masterpieces from the Ralph Lauren Collection‘ at Les Arts Decoratifs Museum in Paris. The exhibition, which runs from April 28 to August 28, presents a selection of the most prestigious sports cars from the 1930s to the present day and outlines the main phases of the European automobile history. REUTERS/Charles Platiau.
Among the major car collections in the world, there is one that stands out more than any other as synonymous with excellence: that of iconic American fashion designer Ralph Lauren. A selection of the most prestigious sports cars from the 1930s to present day is on view for the first time in Europe at Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Seventeen outstanding cars, chosen by curator Rodolphe Rapetti, and put on display by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, outline the main phases of European automobile history. With this collection, Ralph Lauren shows that the automobile is a major art form created by the industry’s biggest names: Bugatti, Alfa Romeo, Bentley, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Porsche and of course, Ferrari, the high point of this unique collection.
In 1970, Les Arts Décoratifs presented a selection of competition cars, “Bolides Design.” To compile the exhibition, a special jury was assembled, featuring designers Joe Colombo, Roger Tallon and Pio Manzu, and the artists Jean-Paul Riopelle, Jean Tinguely and Victor Vasarely, as well as Robert Delpire and François Mathey. The jury chose the models with the idea of the car as a design object, a work of art, showing that “art and technique, each at their own level, are the expression of man and his relationship with design.”
The Ralph Lauren collection can be seen from the same perspective. Patiently assembled over several decades by the fashion designer in a quest for speed and performance, it includes some of the most extraordinary jewels in the crown of European automobile history, with beauty as its common denominator.
Within the collection are some of the most elegant and innovative cars in automotive history, from the “Blower” Bentley (1929), the Ferrari 250 GTO (1962), the famous Mercedes 300 SL (1955) and the unforgettable Jaguar “D type,” whose shark fin blazed a triumphant trail at Le Mans in 1955, 1956 and 1957. But the grand tourer, the Bugatti Atlantic (1938) of which only four models were produced, represents the ultimate in luxury while showcasing the evolution of styles and techniques on the road. Each of these exceptional vehicles was designed as a masterpiece blending technological innovation and boldness of style.
For its first presentation in Europe, the Ralph Lauren collection will be put on display by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, who has opted for an intimate visual approach as these vehicles stand out both for their overall design and detail, as well as for bodywork, chassis and engines.
The kinetic and sound of the vehicles will be reproduced by means of several films and recordings. A seminar on automobile design will also be held during the exhibition.
Among the cars on display:
Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic Coupé, 1938
This is one of only four models ever built, and today only two are left. This fantastic car has visible seams and round-headed rivets running the length of its spine and mudguards. Power and speed are suggested by its doors cut out of the roof and ellipsoidal windows taken from the aeronautics register.
Ferrari 375 Plus, 1954
Like all the Ferraris of the time, there were no specific plans for this design. Highly qualified and talented craftsmen created this magnificently rounded shape following the verbal instructions of Ferrari’s official car designer, Pinin Farina. Thus they were able to produce a magnificent spyder which won Le Mans 24 Hours in 1954.