Monday, August 2, 2010

Auto Racing and Art: Two Familiar Early Examples

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The Automobilist, 1896. Lithograph, 14 3/4 x 10 1/2.Perhaps he earliest work of a major modern artist featuring the image of an automobile. Lautrec portrayed his cousin in a fuming vehicle in this diagonally divided composition. The intense driver is contrasted with a shadowy background figure of a promenader and a dog. It is the new century, filled with technological possibilities, that is contrasted with the old.

George Gaudy's 1898 poster announces the new race course at Brussels' Spa. Father time is behind the wheel of a moving automobile, with speed as the emphasis. Swirling lines spin off the tires of the vehicle driven by Father Time. Does time change because of the inherent speed of the car? It is the end of the century, the end of an age.

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