Sometimes referred to as "rolling sculptures," the incredible cars of the show are a mixture of innovative engineering, uncompromising workmanship and breakthrough design. When viewed as pieces of art, they give admirers a completely new way of looking at the great design periods of our time, spanning the movements from the 1930s to the mid 1960s.
"Our visitors will be surprised to find that today's vehicles come from a legacy of beauty and innovation comparable to the finest decorative arts that may be found in museum collections," said Michael E. Shapiro, Director of the High Museum of Art. "This exhibition showcases the greatest feats of engineering and luxury design from 1930 to 1965, when cars became synonymous with success, power and wealth. Created for the privileged few, the luxurious, custom-built automobiles embodied speed, style and elegance, and influenced art, architecture, fashion and design."
Six Decades of Porsche in the U.S.
"The Allure of the Automobile" is being sponsored by Porsche Cars North America (PCNA), which is headquartered in Atlanta and is celebrating the brand's 60th anniversary of selling cars in the U.S.
"The partnership with the High Museum of Art, one of the world’s renowned art museums, is a perfect fit for us," said Detlev von Platen, President and CEO of PCNA. "This incredible exhibition, 'The Allure of the Automobile,' is a celebration of ground-breaking design and engineering - a theme that resonates throughout our brand."
An Object of Design and Desire
As a focal point of the exhibition, the one-of-a-kind Porsche Type 64 is a unique object in automotive history. It is unlike any other car on display; in fact it is not actually a car at all, but a hand-built, aluminum shell that represents the essence of Porsche design. Even today, when new Porsches are being developed, designers still look to the Type 64 to remind them of the brand's unique legacy.
The Golden Age of Design
As part of the "The Allure of the Automobile," the Type 64 is joined by an iconic list of the world's finest cars from the "golden age of automobile design." These include masterpieces by Bugatti, Duesenberg, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Pierce-Arrow, Packard, Cadillac, Tucker and others. This first-of-its-kind presentation traces the evolution of the motorcar from the mid 1930s to the mid 1960s, examining the contrasts between American and European design, the influence of decorative arts and design and the significant changes in automotive styling and engineering both before and after World War II.
"Until World War I, most cars had been utilitarian objects with one principal goal: transportation," said Ken Gross, guest curator of the exhibition. "But as tastes and wealth coincided, designers could create and/or customize an automobile's body, dramatically altering its silhouette and decoration and producing artful, one-of-a-kind objects. Lavish and often beautifully trimmed with aluminum, chrome, inlaid wood and lacquer, the streamlined silhouettes of the finest mid-century cars represent prime examples of Art Moderne design."
While the first part of the exhibition spotlights the custom coachwork, art-inspired styling, luxury and opulence marked vehicles from the pre-war era, the second segment of the exhibition focuses on how the industry shifted in the post-war years, with the Europeans moving towards smaller, sportier models, while the American manufacturers concentrated on mass-producing cars for a booming economy.
To learn more about the High Museum of Art and the exhibition, please visit www.High.org