Art and Car Design

There are multiple ways that Art has influenced Automotive design and styling. When you bring this subject up with car enthusiasts you usually get the same response — BMW art cars. These are race cars whose livery BMW has over the years commissioned modern artists to paint. What I also see is the influence of a handful of artists in Paris (post WWI) on the design and styling of cars that lives on today.


Modigliani's Jeanne Hebuterne
Modigliani’s Jeanne Hebuterne

Amedeo Modigliani was a tragic figure that was in Paris at that time. His work had a distinctive character that elongating all elements on one axis in order to convey the flow and his perception of the subject. This characteristic was picked up by the Art Deco movement after his death.

You can see Modigliani’s influence in this Art Deco sculpture. Of course Art Deco influenced Art, Architecture and Industrial design. One only has to look at a hood ornament of the ’20s or ’30s to see that.

Art Deco Ballerina

Here are some brilliant examples of Automotive design that follows the Art Deco principle.



1938 Talbot-Lago T150C-SS
1938 Talbot-Lago T150C-SS
1937 Bugatti 57SC Atalante Coupe
1937 Bugatti 57SC Atalante Coupe
Henderson Custom

Piet Mondrian
Piet Mondrian “De Stijl”



Another artist in Paris at this time was Piet Mondrian. He was part of the Dutch “De Stijl” movement that also influenced Art, Architecture and Industrial design.

Here are examples of De Stijl Art and Industrial design.


Although De Stijl had less influence on automotive design it is interesting to see that “the style” still has impact to this day. Below is the 2011 factory Cadillac CTS-V race car.

Cadillac CTS-V
Cadillac CTS-V 2011 SCCA car

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