My Car Quest

March 28, 2020

The Folk Art Influence In Automotive Art

by Wallace Wyss –

Though I like European cars, my tastes in fine art harkens back to Americana, “folk artists” like Thomas Hart Benton and Edward Hopper. Both painted scenes of American life in the 1920s, featuring the early days of mechanization, trains, cars and such but in both cases their art was never about the car, or train, but more about the people.

painting by Wallace Wyss

“Deuce” ’32 Ford roadster in Pomona – painting by Wallace Wyss

Hopper is the one that totally mystifies me. He shows a boring woman in a boring hotel room but it’s still a fascinating painting. My favorite Hopper is one of guy servicing an old fashioned gas pump at night in the country. Not even a car in the painting but it reminds me of the simple country life (I was a cowboy in Montana ever so briefly and am a part time horseman now).

Edward Hopper art

Edward Hopper’s art recalls the earlier days of travel in America.

I predict American tastes in automotive art are going to slowly return toward wanting to show cars not alone but with people. My favorite of my own is the 289 Cobra being tested in Europe by Bondurant with Charlie Agaipou on the left and Phil Remington on the right (both had actors portraying them in Ford v Ferrari).

Agaipou, Bondurant and Remington in Europe - painting by Wallace Wyss

Agaipou, Bondurant and Remington in Europe – painting by Wallace Wyss

Maybe I like it because it shows the cars but it also shows guys doing something and I knew both of those guys, met ’em during the writing of three Shelby books.

I recently did one of a Ferrari P3 in the pits at Le Mans with a portly man in a beige topcoat and fedora behind the car. Could it be Enzo? I know in Ford v Ferrari, they show Enzo at Le Mans but he actually never went there to watch his cars race. But hey painters have creative license. We want to believe he was at Le Mans like we know Henry Ford II was.

Scaglietti Corvette

Scaglietti Corvette at Pebble Beach – painting by Wallace Wyss

I wish I had more reference material on Le Mans in the ’60s because now I feel car fans are tired of just the car, they want people interacting with the cars. Yes, even that blonde denting the fender of the Cobra by sitting on it! I haven’t done one of those yet…

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

 
 
THE AUTHOR/ARTIST: For a list of Wallace Wyss’ prints and URLs to see his work, write mendoart7@gmail.com.

 
 
 
 
 
 

"550 at Trancas"

“550 at Trancas” has an awe struck crowd as sun comes up to light the car in Malibu – painting by Wallace Wyss

"Zephyr at Pomona"

“Zephyr at Pomona” – painting by Wallace Wyss

Summary
The Folk Art Influence In Automotive Art
Article Name
The Folk Art Influence In Automotive Art
Description
I predict American tastes in automotive art are going to slowly return toward wanting to show cars not alone but with people.
Author

Comments

  1. Loved your painting of the “deuce” and the guy in a white T shirt with a low hanging beer belly!

  2. Amazing detail in the first painting, looks like a photo.

  3. wallace wyss says

    I think I’m getting the hang of it, first to require no posing for the picture I will be working from. I want folks interacting with the car as they were before I move into view. For the first 50 years I took pictures waiting ’til the people moved away from the car, now I want them there doing something with it but oblivious to me. About the beer belly, I want a little reality. It is what is is (I like that saying though I am not sure of all its implications…)

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