Bmw Art Car 1975: 3.0 CSL by Alexander Calder

Automotive Design 17 Mar 2006
Bmw Art Car 1975: 3.0 CSL by Alexander Calder

Created by American sculptor Alexander Calder for his friend Herve Poulain, the BMW 3.0 CSL became the first piece of art of an exclusive and unique collection.


BMW 3.0 CSL - 1975 Bmw Art Car by Alexander CalderCalder’s design of the BMW 3.0 CSL was the first Art Car ever, and one of his last works of art before he died in 1976.

His friend Herve Poulain, a French auctioneer and race driver, asked him to commission a rolling canvas on the BMW 3.0 CSL he would race at Le Mans 24 Hours race.

An engineer and sculptor, Calder’s challenge was creating his own “artistic stamp” on something that he did not produce and sculpt himself.

His rendition of the BMW Art Car boasts powerful colors and attractive curving expanses, which he applied generously to the wings, hood and roof.

Calder saw his art in action when he attended the Le Mans 24-hour race as a guest to witness his work’s premiere.

Technical Data

The BMW 3.0 CSL was powered by a 6 cylinders, 24 valves DOHC engine, with a displacement of 3210 cc and a maximum output of 480 hp. It could reach a top speed of 291 km/h.

BMW 3.0 CSL - 1975 Bmw Art Car by Alexander Calder
BMW 3.0 CSL - 1975 Bmw Art Car by Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder – The Artist

Born in 1898 in Philadelphia, legendary American artist Alexander Calder began his career as an engineer. But art soon won out over engineering (Calder’s father and grandfather were both sculptors).

At 28, Calder moved to Paris, where he came into contact with the avant-garde scene. Drawn to both art and technology, he developed a uniquely individual style of sculpture. His often large-scale pieces have a buoyant, whimsical effect, and are painted in cheery primary colors. Often mobile sculptures, they combine Calder’s love of art with his knowledge of engineering. His most famous works of abstract art entitled “Mobiles” were viewed as the most innovative sculptures of the 20 th century.

BMW 3.0 CSL - 1975 Bmw Art Car by Alexander Calder
BMW 3.0 CSL - 1975 Bmw Art Car by Alexander Calder
Alexander Calder and Herve Poulain Alexander Calder and his Bmw Art Car

After staging a series of successful exhibitions in Europe and the USA, Calder moved to France in 1956. He died in New York in 1976.

Back to the BMW Art Collection main page

(Source: Bmw)

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