Bonhams Quail Lodge this August to include Frank Stella-painted BMW M1 from the Guggenheim
Although not an official, factory-owned ‘Art Car’, the 1979 M1 Procar to be offered later this year is as near as it gets.
Frank Stella, together with other luminaries of modern art who included Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, was one of the painters chosen by BMW to decorate its racing cars, many of which ran in the Le Mans 24 Hours. In all, 16 ‘official’ Art Cars were created; Stella’s car being the ‘graph paper’ turbo 3.0 CSL of 1976, often piloted by Swedish F1 driver Ronnie Peterson.
In 1979, as part of his ‘Polar Coordinates’ series, Stella took another racing BMW, this time an M1 Procar, and made the unique design you see here.
The racing M1 was a special commission by multi-championship-winning IMSA racer (mostly Porsche-mounted...), American Peter Gregg. The Group 4-specification car was to be a tribute to the artist’s and Gregg’s mutual friend Ronnie Peterson, who lost his life at the Italian Grand Prix in 1978.
The car was presented to New York’s Guggenheim Museum in 1999, and the proceeds of the sale (to be held on 18-19 August 2011 at Quail Lodge, Carmel) will support new acquisitions.
It is the only BMW car ever painted by an authorised BMW Art Car artist for a private client.
For estimates, please contact Bonhams' US-based specialists on +1 415-391-4000, or e-mail Rupert Banner (New York) [email protected] or Mark Osborne (San Francisco) [email protected]. www.bonhams.com.
Text: Steve Wakefield
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