ABOVE: 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe, original factory press release photo.

Originally published in the November/December 2000 issue of Continental Comments (Issue # 237).

1941 Lincoln Continental Honored by Museum of Modern Art 50 Years Ago in 2001

By Ken Goode, Bennington, Vermont

2001 marks the 50th anniversary of the memorable display of a 1941 Lincoln Continental at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The landmark 1951 exhibition, eight automobiles, featured cars as “hollow, rolling sculpture”.

The eight autos were selected by MoMA’s distinguished director of architecture and design, Philip Johnson.* Mr. Johnson’s choices were suggested by experts who included Raymond Loewy, Howard “Dutch” Darrin, and Cameron Peck. American autos selected, in addition to the Lincoln Continental and foreign makes, were the 1937 Cord and the World War II Jeep, the latter cited as “a beautiful tool for transportation”. Although not displayed, recognition was given to, among others, the 1938 Lincoln-Zephyr, 1939 Cadillac 60 Special, 1947 Studebaker, and 1949 Ford.

The popularity of the eight automobiles led MoMA to mount another auto exhibition in 1953, entitled “Ten Automobiles”. The only American car displayed was the newly-debuted 1953 Studebaker hardtop coupe. MoMA had no subsequent auto exhibit until last year, which focused upon environmentally-friendly, conservational vehicles. The museum has, however, since 1972, maintained a permanent collection of automobiles, beginning with a postwar Cisitalia 202 GT. Added have been a 1990 Ferrari Formula 1 racer and a 1963 Jaguar E-Type roadster.

The displayed Lincoln Continental in 1951 was a light-colored coupe, perhaps Paradise Green or Rockingham Tan. Curiously, the show’s catalog pictured a different car: a dark-colored one, credited to Bimel Kehm. These catalogs are rare … one is owned by Dave Cole. The text, along with photos and the full design analysis of the Continental, was published in OCee Ritch’s 1963 book “The Lincoln Continental.”

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the MoMA display, it’s noteworthy to reflect upon the early, stellar recognition bestowed by one of the world’s premier museums upon the classic Lincoln Continental. Today, appreciation and indebtedness to those wonderful, long-ago events is proudly shared by all of us!

61Lincoln Art Wins “Award of Excellence at Pebble Beach

Above:  Ken Eberts with his award winning 1961 Lincoln Continental painting.

LCOC member Ken Eberts received an Award of Excellence at the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance for his painting of a 1961 Lincoln Continental, entered in the Automotive Fine Arts Society Exhibition which is an integral part of the concours.

Ken’s painting titled “The Art of Elegance” plays up the fact that the 1961 Lincoln Continental was one of the most elegant production automobiles ever produced. The Lincoln is surrounded by other forms of artistic elegance, including a model wearing a ‘60s Pierre Cardin ensemble, and the elegant architecture of the Museum of Art.

The message that Ken has tried to get across is that the Lincoln is not only elegant, but is art, in the the same way that the building that houses the fine art is also art.

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