Automotive fine artists preview Pebble Beach gallery

Juan Fangio painting by Charles Maher | Illustrations courtesy AFAS and the artists
Juan Fangio painting by Charles Maher | Illustrations courtesy AFAS and the artists

Original works of automotive art will be unveiled during Monterey Car Week when the Automotive Fine Arts Society stages its annual exhibit in conjunction with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Founded in 1984 by six artists, the society has grown to include 32 members. The first AFAS exhibit at Pebble Beach was held in 1986.

The exhibit not only showcases members’ latest artworks but is designed to inspire enhanced standards for automotive art “to a level of acceptance as serious fine art from the point of view of both collectors and critics.”

Following are images of some of the featured works to be shown in the Lincoln-sponsored AFAS exhibit adjacent to the 18th fairway at the Pebble Beach golf links.

Gurney at the Bridge
by Klaus Wagger
The painting, depicting Dan Gurney racing a Shelby Cobra at Bridgehampton in 1963, where he became the first American driver in an American car to win an FIA race, measures 55 inches wide and 35 inches tall and is acrylic on canvas. “I employ bold, abstract tones to capture the drama of the car, the noise and the speed,” Wagger said. “I rarely sketch out compositions, as it restricts the expressive route that I use. Instead, I like to paint the background colors quickly to set the mood, and then see the piece develop, including surprises.”
Eric’s Ferrari 250GT SWB
by Stanley Rose
This is one of three new works showing musicians and cars — in addition to Eric Clapton, there’s one of B.B. King and another of Chet Baker. “The impact of these three men on their music genre is simply immeasurable,” Rose said. “King, Baker and Clapton have each played a critical role in this immersive culture that spans both time and age. Many don’t realize that they loved cars and saw them as a direct extension of their music, their lifestyle and their personalities. The ultimate homage to these amazing artists was to capture the spirit of their music along with some of the vehicles that they admired.”
Bentley Boys
by Charles Maher
“Since racing was such an important part of the Monterey Bay culture during the 20th century, I’m honoring three of the most celebrated men in competition history,” said Maher. “Sir Henry Stanley Birkin and Woolf Barnato, members of that first generation of ‘Bentley Boys’ who shaped the very foundation of the marque.” He’s also done a painting of Juan Fangio (above). The Bentley image includes four major elements and 13 smaller ones, each acrylic on canvas.
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St. Nicholas
by Tony Sikorski
“I adore the festive spirit of the holidays,” Sikorski said. “I thought it would be fun to get a jump start on the season this year by showcasing a series of holiday-themed sculptures during our Pebble Beach art exhibit. Each one features jolly old St. Nicholas behind the wheel of a fun vehicle, or in the cockpit of a vintage plane, eager to deliver his bag full of gifts and toys.” The hand-painted wood sculptures range from 16- to 21-inches in height.
The Leithiser Mansion on Chocolate Avenue
by Ken Eberts
Measuring 22-by-31 inches and done in watercolor and gouache, “I set these beautiful American classics in front of the federal-style Leithiser Mansion, which was built in 1910 for James Leithiser and his wife, Lorena Hershey,” Eberts said. “The mansion, which still belongs to the Hershey Trust Company, not only sets a beautiful backdrop for the cars, but adds a sense of nostalgia for this era of American culture and art. Its dark brick also offered me a wonderful background color that added a greater sense of depth for the piece. I placed the Cadillac in front because its maroon paint beautifully complements the green lawn and draws the eye in to the rest of the vehicles. I also included a hint of autumn in the air with golden leaves on a tree since the Hershey car show is held in the fall.”
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House of the Raging Bull
by Tom Hale
“I want people to see the automobile in ways they never imagined through art,” Hale said of the Lamborghini Aventador, subject of several of his studies. “I’m fascinated with reflective surfaces and so I attempt to create shapes, some realistic and many abstract, to enhance these surfaces in my paintings.” The 36-by-48-inch acrylic on canvas painting uses geometric shapes to juxtapose their sharpness against the car’s liquid lines.
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Looking for the Swede
by James Dietz
This 14-by-20-inch oil on canvas is a film-noir piece, a favorite genre of Dietz’s, and is based on a scene from the 1946 movie, The Killers, starring Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner. It features the silhouettes of two hitmen dressed in trench coats and derby hats as they cautiously approach a small-town diner in search of “The Swede.”
Cobra — The Legend
by Richard Pietruska
This sculpture stretches 35 inches and features a Shelby Cobra at speed. It is one of several stunning sculptures the artist will show at Pebble Beach.
Pebble Beach poster and program cover
by Barry Rowe
Rowe was commissioned to create the official art for the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance power and program cover. “The 1951 Ferrari Export Touring Barchetta was the pinnacle for gentlemen racers as it offered spectacular capabilities on both the road and track,” Rowe said. “The sports car has perfect proportions and clean lines, which made it a wonderful subject for a painting.”
The car is remembered for its appearance in the movie, The Racers, in which the car was labeled a Burano.
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