Ernst Fuchs

1982 BMW 635 CSi

This car represents two firsts: This was the first Art Car to be created using a serial production BMW and the first Art Car to be enhanced by a European artist, namely by the Vienna art professor, Ernst Fuchs.

For the “Art as illustration — Illustration as art” exhibition Fuchs was extremely creative in decorating the bodywork of the BMW 635CSi. Ultimately the bodywork served as a screen upon which he was able to project his imagination. Fuchs described his work thus:

“When painting this car I was able to express a wide range of experiences, fears, desires and invocations, as well as aesthetic, artistic freedom. A rabbit can be seen running across the motorway at night and leaping over a burning car — a primal fear and a daring dream of defeating the dimensions within which we live. It tells me which colours to choose. I read its lines, its shape and I can hear its call to speed. I see this beautiful rabbit jump through the flames of love — defeating fear itself.”


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Ernst Fuchs | Austria

Ernst Fuchs, born in 1930 in Vienna, studied sculpture and painting from 1943 to 1950. Together with other young artists, he founded the “Vienna School of Fantastic Realism” at the end of the 1940s. Until 1961, he lived and worked together with his fellow Austrian Friedensreich Hundertwasser, mainly in Paris.

“Actually the car needs no embellishment. It has its own aesthetic appeal.”

— Ernst Fuchs

In 1958 he founded a separate gallery for artists of the “Viennese School” in his home city. In 1974 he developed an interest in musical theater, designing stage sets and costumes. He has since worked increasingly within the realms of poetry and music, and the colors of his paintings have steadily gained in vividness.

In 1980 Fuchs cut a record of his own texts and melodies. The educative energy of his work has been underlined by numerous exhibitions, including a retrospective In Venice in 1984.

1982 BMW 635 CSi

  • 6-cylinder inline engine
  • Overhead camshaft
  • Displacement: 3,430 cc
  • Power output: 218 bhp
  • Top speed: 229 km/h

Ernst Fuchs and his BMW Art Car

Ernst Fuchs designed his BMW Art Car in 1982. The car itself merely served as a surface onto which his own imagination could be projected, without representing a format restraint. The artist himself supplied this interpretation of his work:

“In painting the BMW 635 CSi, I gave expression to various experiences, fears, desires and explorations, but also to free aesthetic artistic creativity. I call this car ‘Firefox on Harehunt.’ It represents a hare racing across a motorway at night and leaping over a burning car – the primeval fear and bold dream of surmounting a dimension in which we live. It tells me its colors, I read them in its lines and shape, I hear its speedy call and can already see the handsome hare leaping through the flames of love – driving away fears.

Let me describe a dream I had when coming round from a general anesthetic at the age of five: a flash of lightning falling near a car driving through storm. And then – the sensation of speed while rushing along. This desire to transcend time and space – all these and many other sensations guided me while painting the BMW Coupe.”

The BMW Art Car designed by Ernst Fuchs was painted in 1982, on the occasion of the “Art as Illustration — Illustration as Art” exhibition, and went on show at the BMW gallery in Munich. This car is a purely static exhibit and was never used on the road or for racing.