My Car Quest

September 28, 2022

Art: The Man In The White Hat

Our In-House Artist explains…

by Wallace Wyss –

I remember some men’s magazine in the ’50s (Esquire? Playboy?) had a cartoon figure of a dude with a walrus mustache. The symbolic idea was that, if he appeared with some product, then OK, the product met Esquire’s expectations. They retired him and now the idea of an in-house connoisseur is gone, as it were.

I think their inspiration was a real-life connoisseur of cars (and everything else) named Nubar Gulbenkian, an Armenian-Brit who was born in the 19th century and subsequently smuggled into England in a suitcase or something like that. In the 1950s, he became a famous businessman, and connoisseur of classic cars, ordering several Rolls built to his taste, most famously one with a see through roof. I remember he would always have a 19-year old mistress, retiring them when they reached the grand old age of 20…

Wallace Wyss art

In my Ferrari 250P race car portrait auctioned at Monterey, I painted a man in a white hat and suit next to a Ferrari 250P. My idea was–rare car portraitists often show mechanics working on the car but why not show a patron of a race team, one dressed to the nines, perhaps strolling out to the pits before the race starts to inspect how his equipment looks?

Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe

Not so coincidentally I have suited up in a white suit and hat myself when I attend concours–first because the gate guards think “This man must be a judge at least” and accordingly roll out the red carpet. Eventually I hope that word will seep out that the bloke over there in the white hat and white suit is an artist.

I am also inspired sartorially by the late Tom Wolfe, a writer who I met in a bookstore in 1965 when he was signing copies of his first book, The Candy Colored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby. I invited him to lunch and we later corresponded. I read his books until the end and always respected what he was trying to do (several were on shaking up the modern art world).

He always wore his trademark white suits and hats though, as he shrunk with age, sometimes he looked rather lost in them. So, not knowing if my record price had anything to do with the man in the white suit and hat, I am planning to make this dandy a recurring character in a series of paintings. But only if the car depicted is one that I am sure The Man in the White Hat would approve of.

Wallace Wyss art

I keep trying for a photograph of me, so attired, holding the latest painting in the surf off Malibu. So far none of the photographers tasked with taking the shot were willing to get wet enough to capture me getting hit by a wave. Me, I don’t mind.

Hey, occupational hazard.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss art

THE AUTHOR/ARTIST: Wallace Wyss can be reached about commissioning art at malibucarart@gmail.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wallace Wyss on the beach

Wallace Wyss on the beach

Summary
Art: The Man In The White Hat
Article Name
Art: The Man In The White Hat
Description
In my Ferrari 250P race car portrait auctioned at Monterey, I painted a man in a white hat and suit next to a Ferrari 250P.
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Comments

  1. I like the mystery man in the white hat.

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