Andy Warhol’s painting of Fangio’s Merc for sale

25 October, 2013 | by Matthew Jones

We don’t really get art. And we’re pretty rubbish at doing art. Or an art. Or whatever.But we do get cars. Especially racy ones. Even more especially if they’re made by Mercedes, have a W196 chassis dode and are driven by F1 legend, Juan Manuel Fangio.

It seems we’re not the only ones. Famous pedestrian and BMW Art Car creator, Andy Warhol (who never actually got round to passing his driving test), drew it in 1986. It was part of his Cars series of silkscreened paintings, which grew out of a smaller series of four Benz-themed pieces that art dealer Hans Mayer commissioned Warhol for that summer, inspired by Mercedes-Benz’s centennial. And it’s up for sale in November.

It’s a pretty massive piece. More than 4 meters tall and 4.5 meters wide, the imaginatively titled Mercedes-Benz W196 R Grand Prix Car (Streamlined version, 1954) shows 12 different coloured W196 racers, just like his famous Marilyn Diptych painting of Marilyn Monroe in 1962.

Christie’s, the auction house selling it, says, “Pictured by Andy Warhol, the W196 becomes a symbol of post-war prosperity, industrial challenge, and America’s fascination with the packaged image of the sleek. Warhol indulges in the American fascination with objects, status, beauty, and fame, reveling in the lack of consciousness precipitated by obsessive material desire.” Er, OK.

The company also reckons it could fetch anything from R117m to R155m. A relative snip compared to the car he painted, which sold for a massive R311m – for a few months it was the most expensive car ever sold at auction. But not the most expensive car in the world – that distinction belongs to this R508m Ferrari.

Anyway, it’s being sold by Daimler-Benz, which currently keeps the silkscreened painting, along with the rest of Warhol’s Cars series. It says it’s getting shot to secure the collection’s long-term future. If you fancy taking it on, the auction’s on November 12 in New York.



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