Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

AFAS Translates Love Affair with Cars into Art Amelia Island: Group Shows Works at Concours

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

AFAS Translates Love Affair with Cars into Art Amelia Island: Group Shows Works at Concours

Article excerpt

Byline: Amelia A. Hart, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

Just as Degas had his ballerinas and Georgia O'Keeffe had her skulls, members of the Automotive Fine Arts Society have their Cadillacs, Aston Martins and Delahayes.

Cars are the favorite subject of the society's 28 artists, and their passion will be on display starting tomorrow during the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance at The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island.

More than 100 works of art -- oils, watercolors and sculptures -- by some of the best known names in automotive art will be shown at the resort through Saturday. On Sunday, the works will be moved to a tent on the resort's golf course, where the classic cars will be displayed.

"The cars in the concours are works of art themselves," said AFAS President Ken Eberts. "We sort of complement each other."

The Amelia Island concours is one of two annual shows put on by AFAS. The other is the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in Carmel, Calif.

The society also publishes The Journal of Automotive Art, an annual magazine with about 5,000 subscribers.

For 19 years, AFAS members have worked to legitimize automotive-themed art and to have it taken seriously by galleries, museums and collectors.

Cars are a potent subject for art simply because of the central place they hold in most Americans' lives, Eberts said.

"In the industrial age, most people are connected to cars," Eberts said. "People can't help but have a relationship with their automobile."

Eberts said the model for the automotive art society is the Cowboys Artists of America, which was founded in 1965 to promote the genre.

Once ignored, western art now is displayed in galleries across the country, said Bill Neale, an AFAS founder.

"Automotive art is kind of where western art was 20 to 25 years ago," Neale said. "More and more, we're able to see our work in some very fine galleries. …

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