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Sculpted in Steel: Art Deco Automobiles and Motorcycles, 1929–1940

Feb 21, 2016 - May 30, 2016

Beck Building, Ground Floor
5601 Main Street Map & Directions

About the exhibition

Today's automotive manufacturers strive for economy and efficiency, but there was a time when art and elegance reigned. Sculpted in Steel: Art Deco Automobiles and Motorcycles, 1929–1940 celebrates the cars and motorcycles designed during this iconic period.

Sculpted in Steel showcases 14 cars and three motorcycles, alongside historical images and videos. The classic grace and modern luxury of Art Deco design dazzles in vehicles from the United States and around the world. The innovative, machine-inspired Art Deco style began in France in the early 20th century, but the movement was interrupted by World War I. The style reemerged across Europe after the war, and the 1920s to 1930s proved to be one of the most creative eras for international design in all mediums. Art Deco influenced everything from fashion and fine art to architecture and transportation.

Automakers embraced the sleek iconography of streamlining and introduced industrial materials to present aircraft-inspired body styles. Grilles and hood ornaments, headlamps, windows, and instrument panels are just some of the elements that were transformed through the use of chrome detailing and innovative aerodynamics. The cars and motorcycles on view in Sculpted in Steel were crafted from the finest materials of the time.

Video Preview

Accompanying this exhibition is an illustrated catalogue, available through the MFA Shop (713.639.7360) and the Museum's Hirsch Library (713.639.7325).

In-Gallery Extra: Audio Tour
Enhance your experience with the optional audio tour, available in both English and Spanish. Hear from an automobile collector, a car historian, and the exhibition's curator as they share insights into the vehicles' designs and histories.

Arts & Smarts
Sip on a Bugatti—a Sculpted in Steel–themed specialty cocktail—at the fabulous Hotel ZaZa next door to the Museum, and book a package for a luxury hotel stay that includes tickets to the exhibition. More Info

► Exhibition Admission
Tickets purchased online or on-site are good for any day, any time, during regular Museum hours, and include access to High Society: The Portraits of Franz X. Winterhalter and general admission fees.

MFAH Member (Join now!) Free
Adult (19+) $23
Senior (65+ with ID), Military (with ID) $18
College Student (19+ with ID), Youth (13–18) $18
Child (12 & younger) Free

This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Lead corporate sponsor:
Northern Trust

Lead foundation underwriting is provided by The Hamill Foundation.

Additional generous funding is provided by:

Norton Rose Fulbright
Vivian L. Smith Foundation