New Coffee Table Books Have Been Added To The Petrolicious Shop
It’s a bit late to be shipping books in time for Christmas, but that doesn’t mean your coffee table knows when you’ve given it a belated present. The two books we’ve recently added to our ever-growing and shelf-bending library in the Petrolicious office are the perfect photography-driven, low-reader-investment hardcovers to lay out for casual viewing. They also happen to be about as different from one another as possible. One features the pristine and priceless collection that’s rolled through the garage(s) of Ralph Lauren, shot digitally in a studio setting. The other, a collection of film photography amassed by one man walking around New York City and Hoboken finding cars parked on the street. The latest of which was snapped in 1976. Gritty and personal, or clinically perfect, the two books featured here offer two very distinct sides of our automotive world.
Speed, Style, and Beauty: Cars from the Ralph Lauren Collection
Author: Beverly Rae Kimes and Winston Goodfellow
Publisher: MFA Publications
Format: Hardcover, 210 pages
Bugatti and Bentley, Alfa and Aston, Mercedes and McLaren—these are not merely cars, they are some of the most exquisite automobiles ever assembled, selected by Ralph Lauren, one of the foremost designers of our time. This breathtaking volume features 29 of these wonders—from such unparalleled masterpieces as the 1930 Mercedes Benz “Count Trossi,” the 1938 Alfa Romeo Mille Miglia, and the 1938 Bugatti Atlantic Coupe to marvels from Jaguar, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Porsche and even a Ford “Woody”—each of these vehicles is lovingly photographed and presented with authoritative elegance.
Complementing the images are sketches of these and other cars—rarely seen drawings that give insight into the conceptual and development stages of the automobiles. Now in its fourth printing, Speed, Style, and Beauty is the first book on cars to center its discussion squarely on the car’s role as an art object. The 29 chapters, by two of the best known and most respected authors writing about cars today, gives the indispensable background information, but also approaches the cars the way an art historian would approach fine sculpture—treating them as consummate works of decorative art for the modern age.
With over 160 color images by world-renowned photographer Michael Furman, plus an introductory interview with Ralph Lauren who discusses the links between the cars and his overall design philosophy, this is an elegant yet informative book that will delight both the rampant car enthusiast and aficionados of great design in any form. The sleekly curved chrome and steel of these timeless dream machines conjures the glamour of the 1930s, the opulent ease of the 1950s and the charged excitement of the 1980s—the perfect marriage of speed, style and beauty.
Langdon Clay: Cars New York City, 1974–1976
Author: Langdon Clay
Format: Hardcover, 206 pages
From 1974 to 1976, Langdon Clay (born 1949) photographed the cars he encountered while wandering the streets of New York City and nearby Hoboken, New Jersey, at night. Shot in Kodachrome with a Leica and deftly lit with then-new sodium vapor lights, the pictures feature a distinct array of makes and models set against the gritty details of their surrounding urban and architectural environments, and occasionally the ghostly presence of people.
“I experienced a conversion of sorts in making a switch from the ‘decisive moment’ of black and white to the marvel of color, a world I was waking up to every day,” Clay writes of this work. “At the time it seemed like an obvious and natural transition. What was less obvious was how to reflect my world of New York City in color … I discovered that night was its own color and I fell for it.”
Langdon Clay was born in New York City in 1949. He grew up in New Jersey and Vermont and attended school in New Hampshire and Boston. Clay moved to New York in 1971 and spent the next sixteen years photographing there, around the country and in Europe for various magazines and books. In 1987 he moved to Mississippi where he has since lived with his wife, photographer Maude Schuyler Clay, and their three children.