In pictures: Discover the colorful cars of Andy Warhol’s quirky final paintings, paired with the classic automobiles that inspired them

It was Andy Warhol’s last commission: in 1986, German automaker Mercedes-Benz caught wind of the pop artist’s silkscreen prints of its 300 SL coupé – and he liked what he saw. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of its foundation, it then asked Warhol to create a series dedicated to different models in the history of the car manufacturer.

In the end, only 49 of a proposed series of 80 Pop car photos were made before Warhol’s death in 1987, comprising 36 screenprints on canvas and 13 drawings. Now fans have the chance to see this series for the first time in three decades at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, where, in a rush that only the Petersens could possibly pull off, they are paired with the actual cars that inspired them. .

“Andy Warhol: Cars” is a standout, borrowing from the late Warhol series from the Mercedes-Benz collection. As for the vehicles on display, they are described as “some of the most iconic and valuable cars in the world”, and include the 1937 W 125 and the 1970 C 111 II (both also on loan from the Benz Museum).

The exhibition is that rare event that can unite art aficionados and gearheads (and therefore can be a perfect date night for a very specific type of couple). As an added, non-Mercedes-based treat, the show also features Warhol’s personal car: a 1974 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. It was something of a trophy for Warhol, given that he himself couldn’t drive.

Take a look at some photos from “Andy Warhol: Cars” below.

Mule no. 541, Mercedes-Benz W 125, built in 1937. © Mercedes Benz AG

Andy Warhol's Mercedes Benz W 125 Grand Prix car

Andy Warhol, Mercedes Benz W 125 Grand Prix Car, 1937 (1986) © 2022 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Muli-Nr.  1113

Mule no. 1113, Mercedes-Benz C 111-II, built in 1972.

Mercedes Benz C111 Experimental

Andy Warhol, Mercedes Benz C111 experimental vehicle (1970) (1986) © 2022 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

1886 Benz Patent Motor Car_2

1886 Benz Patent Motor Car in “Andy Warhol: Cars”. Courtesy of the Petersen Automotive Museum.

1937 Mercedes-Benz W 125 Grand Prix Car_2 (1)

1937 Mercedes-Benz W 125 Grand Prix car in ‘Andy Warhol: Cars’. Courtesy of the Petersen Automotive Museum.

1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Coupe Gullwing_1

1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing Coupe in ‘Andy Warhol: Cars’. Courtesy of the Petersen Automotive Museum.

1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 R Formula 1 Grand Prix Car_5

1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 R Formula 1 Grand Prix car in ‘Andy Warhol: Cars’. Courtesy of the Petersen Automotive Museum.

1970 Mercedes-Benz Type C 111-II Experimental Vehicle_6

1970 Mercedes-Benz Type C 111-II experimental vehicle in ‘Andy Warhol: Cars’. Courtesy of the Petersen Automotive Museum.

Andy Warhol: Cars at the Peterson

Detail of the installation of “Andy Warhol: Cars” at the Petersen Automotive Museum. Courtesy of the Petersen Automotive Museum.

1974 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow

Andy Warhol’s 1974 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow in ‘Andy Warhol: Cars’. Courtesy of the Petersen Automotive Museum.

Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow 1974 license plate

Andy Warhol’s ‘WARHOL’ license plate for his Rolls-Royce in ‘Andy Warhol: Cars’. Courtesy of the Petersen Automotive Museum.

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