Alexander Calder’s famous BMW 3.0 CSL Art Car was the first off its kind and easily one of the most famous. Additionally, it’s also probably the best. After creating it, Calder was proud of his work but he did have one problem — he didn’t own it. The Calder Art Car was commissioned by French racing driver Hervé Poulain and BMW. However, Calder always wanted to make one for himself. Unfortunately, he died before he got the chance. Now, though, Calder’s dream is a reality.
Calder’s grandson, Alexander S. C. Rower, recalled speaking with his grandfather about that very fact during the 3.0 CSL Art Car’s debut at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.
“I first encountered the BMW Art Car as a kid at the opening of my grandfather’s far-ranging retrospective at the Whitney Museum in 1976. I asked him about the roar of its M49 engine, and he smiled and told me he wanted to make one for himself. He died just a few weeks later. Ever since, I have dreamed of realizing his wish to bring the car to life to experience its full glory in motion. I am thrilled that that day has finally come, and that the car will be activated for the opening of the Neue Nationalgalerie’s ‘Minimal / Maximal’ exhibition, which highlights the key element of social activation so fundamental to Calder’s work.” said Rower.
The Calder Foundation and BMW Group Classic teamed up to recreate Calder’s BMW 3.0 CSL Art Car, with key members of the original team being consulted. Even Jochen Neerpasch, who was the head of BMW M at the time of Calder’s Art Car creation and a big supporter of the Art Car program, was consulted.
Walter Maurer, the man that did the original technical painting of Calder’s design, is who painted this new Artist’s Proof. Incredibly, this new BMW 3.0 CSL Art Car Artist’s Proof isn’t a reproduction, clone, or replica of the original car. It’s a from-the-ground-up recreation, built on an original BMW 3.0 CSL, and will even carry the same VIN as the original Art Car. It’s the Artist’s Proof Calder was entitled to but was never created. Until now.
The BMW 3.0 CSL Artist’s Proof will make its debut at the “Alexander Calder: Minimal / Maximal” exhibit at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin on August 22, 2021. Following its debut in Berlin, the car will make its way to The Bridge in Bridgehampton, New York, on September 18, 2021. After that, the Calder Foundation will lend the car to various different exhibits around the world.