In 1986, Mercedes-Benz commissioned Andy Warhol to create a series of artworks to celebrate the German marque’s 100th anniversary. Now, for the first time in 30 years, the famous “Cars” collection will be on display in the United States.
The exhibition will be held, fittingly, at the legendary Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Opening this weekend, the show will include not only Warhol’s masterpieces, but also the actual Mercs that inspired them.
According to the museum, the three-pointed star tapped the world-renowned pop artist for the project after seeing his serigraphs of the Mercedes 300 SL coupe. Warhol originally planned to create 80 pieces featuring 20 different models from the automaker’s century-old history, but died suddenly in 1987 before the series was completed. As a result, his final order was limited to 36 canvas prints and 13 drawings.
The “Cars” series was shown only twice in its entirety in Germany and Austria, respectively. On loan from the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection, a total of 40 works will be presented in the museum’s Armand Hammer Foundation gallery, alongside five of the eight vehicles that served as the artist’s muses.
The first is the iconic 1937 W 125. Originally built for Grand Prix racing, this ancient four-wheeler has a 637 horsepower supercharged eight-cylinder engine and was considered one of the world’s most popular road racing cars. most powerful for three decades. Another highlight is the 1970 experimental C111-II, which sports an aerodynamic fiberglass body and a three-rotor Wankel engine. It could reach speeds of 200 mph. The exhibition also includes a 1954 W 196 which took part in the Formula 1 championship, a Daimler Motor Carriage, a Mylord Coupe and a Type 400 Tourenwagen.
Although not technically a Mercedes, a 1974 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow is also featured in the show. It was Warhol, although the artist never had a driver’s license. Legend has it that he rode shotgun alongside famous drivers Mick Jagger, Imelda Marcos and Liza Minnelli. It’s nice to see that the British ride got its 15 minutes in addition to the German classics.
“Andy Warhol was an iconic and influential figure who pioneered art and pop culture,” museum executive director Terry L. Karges said in a statement. “Not many people have seen his automotive works, so we are thrilled to show them to the public alongside the unique vehicles that inspired his creative visions.
Andy Warhol: Automotive Works from the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection will open to the public on Saturday July 23.
Click here to see all the photos of the exhibition.