The description of automobiles as “hollow rolling sculptures” was made by the late Arthur Drexler in the early 1950s. That proposition is affirmed by juxtaposing four of the most beautiful automobiles of the 20th century with sculptures by two of the greatest artists of the same period—the soft curves of Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure and the restlessly fluid motions of Alexander Calder’s monumental mobile January 31. Each of the automobiles stand as examples of technical excellence—two of them laid claim to being the fastest production vehicles on the road—but it is the beauty of their flowing lines that are celebrated here.
Like great works of art, the Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, Hispano-Suiza H6B Dubonnet Xenia and Pegaso Z-102 Cúpula hold rare value as limited editions for connoisseurs. Even the mass-produced Bentley R-Type Continental numbered only around 200 examples. In another link with the artist’s studio, the body shells of these automobiles were individually shaped by craftsmen, coaxing the metal by hand to create the compound curves. The Atlantic, created by Jean Bugatti, was linked to a family immersed in the world of art and architecture over several generations. Here alongside the automobile is the sculpture Stalking Panther by Jean’s uncle, artist Rembrandt Bugatti, each redolent of motion.