Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Rolling Sculpture: Art Deco Cars From The 1930s And 1940s.

1931 Ruxton Sedan, in Joseph Urban livery,
from the Richard H. Driehaus Collection at Chicago Vintage Motor Carriage.
Photos by Peter Harholdt, unless otherwise noted.

by Kurt Ernst

Sometimes, the line between art and automobile becomes blurred, as recent Ken Gross-curated exhibits at Nashville’s Frist Center for the Visual Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston have demonstrated.

Opening in October at the North Carolina Museum of Art, a new exhibit, also curated by Gross, will celebrate Rolling Sculpture: Art Deco Cars from the 1930s and ’40s, embracing the themes of Art Deco, Streamlining and Yesterday’s Car of the Future.

1941 Indian 441 Series 4-Cylinder motorcycle,
from the collection of Duane Van Fleet.

Of the cars to be shown, perhaps none exemplifies the Art Deco movement better than the 1931 Ruxton Sedan, featuring a distinctive “rainbow” livery created by industrial designer (and Art Deco pioneer) Joseph Urban. One of nineteen surviving Ruxtons, just five are finished in the Urban design, meant to exaggerate the car’s length, and hence, its grandeur.

With details like Woodlite headlamps, Moire silk window shades and silk-wrapped passenger-assist handles, the Ruxton could have been among the premier luxury cars of its day, had the company survived the effects of The Great Depression and the ambitions of its founder.

1931 Ruxton Sedan, in Joseph Urban livery,


  1. The best looking car's from the art deco era:
    -Mercedes 540K Special Roadster
    -Duesenberg "20 Grand"
    -Constance Bennett's 1930 Rolls Royce Phantom II
    -The Pierce Silver Arrow

    1. Thank You, The Rad Trad, for your erudite contribution.

      Delighted to say that all four of your best looking cars from the Art Deco era have now been acquired.

      All in Canary Yellow.

      Grateful for your excellent advice.


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