In recent years, people have started talking about an art collection which provides an unusual but very close link between the world of the car and the world of art: the BMW Art Car collection.

It was the French auctioneer and racing driver Hervé Poulain who first had the idea of asking an artist to paint a car. Taking up this initiative in 1975, the American Alexander Calder painted a BMW racing car, thus laying the foundation stone. The Art Car experiment was soon continued: a year after Calder, the New York artist Frank Stella covered a BMW with his typical grid-like pattern. He was followed by a series of pop artists: Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg. Apart from Rauschenberg’s Art Car, all these took part in the traditional Le Mans 24-hour race, some of them enjoying remarkable success.

In the 1980’s the Art Car collection become more varied in character: artists of other nationalities and with different styles joined the group – the Austrian Ernst Fuchs, the Australians Ken Done and Michael Jagamara Nelson, the Japanese Matazo Kayama and the Spaniard César Manrique. The range of models selected as Art Cars was also increased, with series-production vehicles being painted in addition to racing cars. A famous example is the red BMW Z1 painted by A.R. Penck in Spring 1991, the first German Art Car artist.

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Latest and 17th BMW Art Car comes from Jeff Koons who used the BMW M3 GT2 as his inspiration. The car premiered in Paris back in June.

Today, BMW gives us the history of BMW Art Cars on reel and takes us back to the beginning.