Warhol’s Mercedes commissions hit different when reunited with their muses

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Brandan Gillogly

While Andy Warhol never drove a car, he was a fan of their design and immortalized several of them in his iconic pop art style. Now, for just the second time ever, his work commissioned by Mercedes-Benz has been reunited with the vehicles that he depicted. Seeing them in that context is truly a rare and wonderful opportunity.

In 1986, Mercedes-Benz commissioned Warhol to complete 80 controversial paintings to commemorate 100 years of the brand. Sadly, Warhol passed away in 1988 after completing 13 drawings and 36 silk-screen paintings depicting eight different Mercedes-Benz models. Warhol chose to capture the beginning with a Benz Patent Motorwagen and hit some fantastic highlights, focusing on the brand’s most beautiful and successful race cars finding their way onto his prints.

Brandan Gillogly

Besides the Patent Motorwagen, Dr. Renate Wiehager, head of the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection and co-curator of the exhibit, selected a pair of Gullwings and a pair of Grand Prix racers to fill the Petersen Automotive Museum’s Armand Hammer Foundation Gallery. If you’re unfamiliar with the museum’s floor plan, it’s easy to find, located on the museum’s ground floor adjacent to the Bond in Motion exhibit in the Mullin Grand Salon. Cars take up the center of the gallery, but the walls are nearly filled with Warhol’s prints and the space highlights the intersection of cars and art wonderfully.

It’s not often that the Petersen Museum includes two-dimensional cars. Take advantage of this rare opportunity and see this collection for yourself!

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