Sculpted in Steel: Art Deco Automobiles and Motorcycles, 1929–1940 February 20–May 29, 2016


Talbot-Lago - T150C-SS Teardrop Coupe

Bodywork by Figoni & Falaschi, Talbot-Lago, T150C‑SS Teardrop Coupe, 1938, collection of J. W. Marriott, Jr. Image © 2008 Peter Harholdt

Bodywork designed by Figoni & Falaschi, Delahaye, 135M Competition Coupe, 1936, the Patterson Collection. Image © 2008 Peter Harholdt

Bodywork built by LeBaron Incorporated, Packard Motor Car Company, Twelve Model 1106, 1934, collection of Bob and Sandra Bahre. Image © 2008 Peter Harholdt

Designer unknown, BMW AG, BMW R7 Concept Motorcycle, 1934, BMW Classic Collection. Image © 2008 Peter Harholdt

Gordon Miller Buehrig, Cord Corporation, Auburn Automobile Company, Model 810 “Armchair” Beverly Sedan, 1936, collection of Rich and Debbie Fass, Pittstown, New Jersey / Stone Barn Inc. Auto Restorations, Vienna, New Jersey. Image © 2008 Peter Harholdt

Gordon Miller Buehrig, Cord Corporation, Auburn Automobile Company, Model 810 “Armchair” Beverly Sedan (detail), 1936, collection of Rich and Debbie Fass, Pittstown, New Jersey / Stone Barn Inc. Auto Restorations, Vienna, New Jersey. Image © 2008 Peter Harholdt

O. Ray Courtney, Henderson Motorcycle Co., KJ Streamline Motorcycle, 1930, Frank Westfall, Ner-A-Car Museum, Syracuse, New York. Image © 2008 Peter Harholdt

Edsel Ford, Eugene T. “Bob” Gregorie, Ford Aircraft Division, Edsel Ford’s Model 40 Special Speedster, 1934, courtesy of the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House. Image © 2008 Peter Harholdt

Indian Motorcycle, Chief, 1940, collection of Indian Motorcycle Motorcity, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Image © 2008 Peter Harholdt

Jean Bugatti, Automobiles Ettore Bugatti, Type 46 Semi‑profile Coupe, 1929, collection of Peter and Merle Mullin. Image © 2009 Peter Harholdt

William Stout, Stout Motor Car Company, Scarab, 1936, collection of Larry Smith, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Image © 2008 Peter Harholdt

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.


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

Location

Audrey Jones Beck Building
5601 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005
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